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Klong Toey Community Lantern, TYIN Tegnestue, bangkok, community center, humanitarian design, sustainable development, khlong toei, klong toey

Klong Toey (or Khlong Toei) is the largest and oldest area of slum dwellings in Bangkok with more than 140,000 people living in sub-standard housing with little to no rights. With a lack of public services like healthcare, affordable education, sanitation and electricity, the area has an extensive drug problem, high unemployment rates, along with violence and crime. TYIN Tegnestue wanted to do something for the community to improve the social sustainability, encourage community interaction and provide a safe space for children to play.

The entire process took over a year and the group spent many hours researching the area and community members to gain their trust and opinions. After deciding on a good location and overall design strategy for the community center, TYIN Tegnestue held a number of workshops to clean the parking lot and then build the structure. One of the main goals was to maintain the size of the football field, so the structure was limited in size to something long and narrow. The structure measures 12m x 1.2m and the full height of the building is short of 5 meters. A concrete base was cast to support the weight of the building which is essentially an open air stage with multiple landings, staircases, climbing rungs and various seating built from woods and iron railings.

The structure’s simplicity, repetitive logic and durability ensures that it will be long lasting and of use to the community for many years. Its design also encourages adaptations or updates as the community sees fit over time. TYIN Tegnestue sees the Klong Toey Community Lantern as part of a long term strategy towards sustainable development in the area. Klong Toey Community Lantern and TYIN Tegnesture have recently been shortlisted to the 2012 Civic Trust Awards.

Images ©TYIN Tegnestue