Paola Bokobsa , Sergio Monti ,Paola Bokobsa
Having been able to do field research in Chiang Mai, we had the opportunity to get a first hand, unfiltered experience of the land, inhabitants and structures.
Vernacular Lanna architecture is simple and efficient. It directly responds to the environment. Pointed stacked roofs allow for natural ventilation and mitigates intense rainfalls. Raised structures with angled stilts keep a home safe from flooding and the power of flowing water. Elevation changes in the plan allow for separation of spaces without need for to many walls or doors.
Our vernacular starting point was a study of the classical Lanna house and Buddhist temples. Our field research also prompted an interest in the compound house. The idea of a structure, or aggregation of them, changing through time and shifting uses as need arose was a key driving point in the initial concept.
We created a monumental public space, serving as a gathering point in the rural area. We are past a time of extreme spirituality and reliance on temples. We envisioned a library program for the structure, occurring in the mezzanine of the central courtyard, with seven raised pods orbiting it, acting as more private but still communal reading spaces.
The octagonal geometry relates to Buddhist cosmology. We chose to retain the vernacular as it is the best way to respond to natural elements, but subsequently warp and exaggerate them in some points, to create combinations of geometries that stand out something beyond.
The program is a response to urban/rural tensions. The library that serves as a landmark and is publicly accessible. The idea of the program stems from the fact that in the shift from rural to urban, the biggest factor in this expanding rift between the two is education and access to knowledge.