TCDC Khon Kaen

Location: Khon Kaen, Thailand
Type: Architecture and Interior Design (Competition)
Program: Library, meeting rooms, and exhibition space
Client: TCDC
Site Area: 2,410 sqm.
Built Area: 1,500 sqm.
Design: 2016

The design concept of TCDC Khon Kaen was inspired by the Thai Northern or E-Sarn people, cultural custom ofLom Wongor ล้อมวง” — an action which describes the physical gathering of people in a circle, where everyone faces one another in communion and affinity.  This manner of social engagement is distinctive not only in the day-to-day interaction of the E-Sarn people, whose easy-going, fun-loving, and community orientated attitude naturally draws people together to gather in a circle for meals, activities, or ceremonies, but extending to the inward facing orientation of their architectures that urges community engagement and the exchange of ideas for development. 

The idea ofLom Wongis interpreted effortlessly into the planning of the three main function of TCDC where the library, the auditorium, and the exhibition space are positioned to inwardly facing one another, in order to create the central communal space that engages social gathering and congregation.  Furthermore, by arranging the planning in this manner, the architecture is all inclusive, where no singular circulation or function is viewed as more important than the other.  This non-hierarchical planning allows for the freedom of movement about the TCDC building and extending beyond to the Creative Park, enabling the community to create the Creative Ecology through the freedom of assembly and exchange of ideas, with TCDC acts as the heart of community. 

The design concept of the masterplan received inspiration from the Project Under the Royal Patronage of his Majesty the King: theKhoak-Nhong-Na Modelorโคกหนองนา โมเดลwhich is an integration between local traditions and geological studies in order to design a new way of constructing architecture that insert itself within nature, as well as a solution to handle with the unpredictable shift in weather and climate patterns.  The characteristic of the model is the excavation of land to create series of natural ponds which acts as a reservoir, then using the excavated earth to re-terrain the area, creating a series of undulating slopes that can freely be utilized by the community manners which they see fits.

This unique characteristic which derived from a simplistic and straightforward model of thinking is able to create a landmark ecological landscape for the Creative Park, while at the same time able to act as a case study for public space planning for any future projects. 

The connected roof line of the proposed architecture alludes to the characteristic of the twin house style vehicular architecture of the region.  This use of vehicular architectural language is no only a respond to the region’s climatic condition but also in the creation of a common public space or  Laanor ”ลาน  that is an important characteristic of Thai architecture.  By acting as both the main circulatory distribution of the architecture and a point of assembly, the public space created encourages the social engagement and interaction for its visitors.

The design of the openings is an allusion to the patterns and proportions of the traditional E-Sarn wood siding.  The use of the regional motif is not simply a nod to the regional tradition but a modern architectural interpretation and adaptation that is relevant to the three main functions of the building. 

Along side the principal idea of Lom Wongfor the design and planning of TCDC Khon Kaen, the theory and practice of Sustainable Design also plays a crucial role in the the architectural zoning and design of the architecture.  The predominately enclosed exhibition space is strategically positioned in the west, as it acts as a heat barrier for the rest of the architecture.  Similarly, by situating the auditorium in the east, both spaces simultaneously help moderate the climatic condition of the central courtyard to be within the human comfort zone, allowing the space to be used freely all throughout the day. Finally, the library space is positioned in the north, where it will receive the least amount of heat from the sun, allowing for the maximum usage of glazing in order to harness the most natural light. 

Concurrently, beyond its strategic position, the openings and shading devices were designed to respond to the amount of radiation received by glazing, in relations to its orientation, through its various proportions and degree of rotation.  The shading strategy contributes not only scientifically to the reduction of heat entering the spaces, but also aesthetically, in the creation a unique characteristic for the architecture. 

As a respond to the planning strategy, each of the three main functions were designed with emphasis on flexibility in operation and usage within its own functions, its adjacent functions, and the architecture as a whole. 

The open planning of the library space allows for complete visual connection of the overall space, as the large window filters in natural light, illuminating the entire space, it extends the space to the outside, blurring the line between interior and exterior.  The extension of the exterior space and architectural features into the interior, creating an open reading area that is flexible and relaxed.  Furthermore, the private reading area on the lofted space is designed to be modified in multiple configurations, from an isolated reading room to a large group meeting room, according to the needs of the user.

The auditorium was designed to accommodate a variety of programming, including workshops, lectures, seminars, and other associated activities.  With its capacity for 200 visitors, the large open plan space can be subdivided into to two rooms, providing for simultaneous activities.  Furthermore, the auditorium was designed to be able open up and utilize the public courtyard space, connecting each functions as it expands is space for activities outward.

The exhibition space was also designed for flexibility in modification of space in order to accommodate for different mediums of exhibitions.  In the same manner as the auditorium, the exhibition space is able to expand out to the central courtyard and engage the public.  The cargo drop-off area and mechanical room is orientated to face westward, connecting it to the main road while acting as a heat barrier for the building.

Stu/D/O Project Team:
All the Stu/D/O
In Collaboration with: Archive Studio
Landscape Architect: TROP
Interior Architect: Storage Studio
Graphic Designer Cookies Dynamo
Structural Engineer: Ittipon Konjaisue
Mechanical Engineer: MEE Consultant