Measuring only 10 feet by 30 feet, The Old Market Library was built in one of Bangkok’s poorest areas for only $4,500. Featuring different spaces for different functions, the lower reading room has a raised wooden platform that offers a secure dry area during Thailand’s annual rainy season. A wall made from locally found decayed wood is brightened up with freshly colored wooden boxes leftover from one of CASEs earlier projects that are used as bookshelves.
The backyard has a wooden structure that protects people from the blazing sun and features plants set in large ceramic pots. The loft is also made from local recycled materials and has lots of pillows set around a small table – the perfect place for meetings, quiet reading, or admiring the fantastic roof beams. Recycled boxes with a fresh coat of chalkboard paintmake great small blackboards for learning while having fun.
The most important aspect of this project is not the use of recycled affordable materials or the Library itself, but the sense of ownership and self-confidence that the project gave the locals by engaging them in the design and building process. The Min Buri Old Market Library shows that the inhabitants of the Bangkok community are able to build something for themselves with their own initiative and using their own resources – and this will hopefully set an example and inspire positive development in the neighborhood
Photos © Pasi Aalto