TROP Company Limited, Ladprao, Thailand
Client: Sansiri PLC
Three gardens designed for a new Condominium in the middle of over-crowded Bangkok. The main idea is to respect the existing "Residents", which are old giant Rain trees (Leguminosae Mimosoideae) and their small inhabitants (squirrels and birds) and to encourage the new residents to live with Nature. The Rain Trees become the heart of our design, while all other garden elements are created to complement those trees.
—2012 Professional Awards Jury
Quattro is a High-end Residential Project in the up-scale area of Bangkok. Look at Bangkok now. You can hardly find soil in the city full of concrete and asphalt. Her people have changed their ways of living too. In the past, we may prefer to live in a small house, with small garden, outside the city areas, and commute in and out the city daily. Not anymore. To fit the present time's fast life style, It is quite normal these days that younger generation of Thais are moving in town and choose to live in high-rise buildings, instead of their out of town homes. Horizontal Living is out. Vertical one is the thing to do.
Basically now we live in a box. Stacked boxes, to be precise. Ranging from 30 sqm to larger ones, they are still boxes. Concrete boxes that are put on top of each other, instead of soil. This is far from the ideal "Home" that everyone has in his/her mind. If you ask kids to draw their ideal "Home", you would surely see similarities between each drawing. It may have a house, a garden of some sort, a fish pond, etc. Compare that to the condominium boxes we are living in, we may still have a house, but a garden and a pond are gone.
Well, that is not good, and we would like to change that.
The site of Quattro was an old house with a big garden. When we first visit the site, we saw beautiful rain trees, planted in the middle of the site for more than 40 years. Our first thought is that "we have to save those trees. No matter what it would take". Working closely with the Owner, the architects and other legal consultants, we managed to locate 2 tall residential towers away from the Trees. By doing so, the Owner lost much of their selling space, but, instead, we can keep the price-less feature of the site, the Trees.
Our next move is to locate the main garden around the trees. Here we planned to create an urban oasis in the middle of Bangkok. We started by studying the trees and all effects they made for the area around them. For example, Sunlight is basically filtered through their tiny leaves, creating comfortable temperature for the space below.
No doubt, the area below their big branches become our new seating Pavilions. In order to minimize any impact to the Trees' root balls, we avoided large hardscape area. Instead, a series of terraces are added here and there, with soft scape, Mouse tail Plant (Phyllanthus Myrtifolius Moon), and small pebbles in between, creating microclimate effect. The main pool is also located away from the root balls. Placed by the boundary wall, and raised at approximately 80cm from the garden, the Infinity Edge and its over-flowing water creates "White Noise" effect, which also helps reducing the outside traffic noises greatly.
Design-wise, the inspiration comes from the project's name, Quattro (4). So we play with a combination of rectangular shapes, combining them into thee-dimensional garden compositions. Some bigger rectangles become terraces, while the smaller ones are used as stepping pathways. A series of rectangular stones is also used on the pavilions' walls, creating semi-enclosed space for their users.
Overall, the Main Garden is a memento of our new residents' old out-of-town homes. A big open space with nothing in between the ground and the sky, except the Trees' huge canopies. A rarity for this kind of project.
2 Roof Gardens
Two small gardens are also created on each of the towers.
At Tower A, a Pool Terrace is strategically located on top of its parking structure. Not only that this pool helps selling the units, its water also greatly helps reducing heat for the lower floor units.
Because of the roof's small size, we do not have much green area left. Instead of creating small strips of plantings around the pool, we handpicked 2 special Frangipani trees, that extending over the water. Their shades also help reducing the glare that will be reflected into the surrounding units.
Tower B is close to the Main Garden, so we do not need another pool here. Instead, we created a Party Terrace for multipurpose activities. Using similar idea to reduce heat, the Terrace is divided into 2 smaller hardscape areas, with reflecting pond in between.
Bangkok's local trees, Indian oak (Barringtonia acutangula) and Pong Pong Tree (Cerbera odollamGaertn.), are planted here to create microclimate effect to the Terrace.
As the result, both Terraces can be used all day, despite Bangkok's infamous heat.
Even though our new residents are younger generation of Thais, but, in Asia, our living culture is different from Western Families. It is quite usual to have 3 generations of family members in one household. At Quattro, it is the same. Some already brought in their parents, and some will have their own family soon. What we try to create for them here is not just any garden, but a special place. A place where they can spend the rest of their lives. A place where the elders can have their comfortable space. A place where one can raise his children. A true urban oasis for all three generations.
Pok Kobkongsanti, International ASLA
Anuwit Cheewarattanaporn; Nattapong Raktai; and Chatchawan Banjongsiri