Located at the Eastern fringes of Bangkok in the suburban district of Prawet, and not far from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport is an incredibly important project called The Metro-Forest Project. It's an urban ecological regeneration project designed as an outdoor exhibition space to cultivate green awareness and educate visitors about the importance of preserving the local forest ecology.
The project occupies an abandoned 4.75 site and it's main purpose is to reverse the trends of suburban sprawl, urban heat island, and flood-prone developments through the incorporation of historically local (native and introduced) lowland tropical tree species as well as trees of historic significance.
In early 2012, the PTT Reforestation Institute commissioned the landscape architects of Bangkok to design a space for reforestation. Initial analysis indicated the dredging of soil as the excavation created pits for illegal refuse dumping, inspiring them to create a new terrain for forest regeneration. Non-compostable waste was cleared while the rest was allowed to decompose. Approximately 37,000 cu.metres of earthwork was introduced and graded with 6,000 cu.metres of planting soil to create a suitable terrain. Berms and topography create little"micro-ecologies" which lend to it's ecological diversity. They also implemented a pre-mixture of highly fertile, organic soil (3-parts Topsoil, 1-part Raw Rice Husk, 1-part Coconut Coir Dust, 1-part Chicken Manure) as a soil medium suitable for the lowland species saplings. A skywalk + observation tower were designed to minimize disturbance of the burgeoning forest and allow close-up views of the maturing canopy.
As re-forestation was a huge priority, approximately 60,000 trees of more than 279 unique species were planted on approximately 75% of the overall site. Maintenance of the site will look for the forest to manage itself, as no management is the best management. However, as the forest matures, a practice of rotational forestry through predictive-modeling or forecasting of its succession will be implemented as the continuously on-going project evolves over generations to come.
The project, which received LEED Platinum NC, is truly a public outreach commitment by the PTT Reforestation Institute to inspire public awareness of forestry management and the importance of environmental stewardship in Thailand as the design by the Landscape Architects has become an extension of the curved wall rammed-earth exhibition center from indoors to outdoors. The site has also become a new habitat for fauna to establish their home and visitors to observe.
Client: PTT Public Company Limited
Landscape Architecture: LAB (Landscape Architects of Bangkok)
- Principals: Tawatchai Kobkaikit, Boontarika Wannapin
- Landscape Architects: Nantawan Sirisup, Akachai Werasakulchai, Hatacha Sukprakob, Punyada Klinpaka
- Horticulturist: Thannaphat Tonnuea, Tiprada Tingklub
Consultants and other collaborators:
Ecological Forest Consultant: Dr.Sirin Kaewlaierd
Landscape Design Consultant: Assistant Professor Dr. Angsana Boonyobhas
Architectural Design & Interior Design: Spacetime Architects
Interior Design of Mini-Theatre area: designLAB NLSS
Energy & Green Building Consultant: A49
Exhibition Design: PICO
Commissioning Authority: SCG Green Building Department
Lighting Consultant: LD49
Structural Engineering: H. Engineer
MEP Engineering: MITR
Quantity Surveyor: Langdon & Seah Thailand
Construction Management: EDA Consultant
Main Contractor: RITTA
Softscape Contractor: CORDIA
Waterfall Contractor: Tropical Garden
Rammed Earth Sub-contractor: La Terre
Earthwork Contractor: Psatanachod Kanyotha
Text: Assistant Professor Dr. Angsana Boonyobhas, Popy Suthiwan