The idea is to present the character of vernacular architecture in the south of Thailand through contemporary architecture. Phuket Gateway is to serve as a public space for welcoming the visitors to this province, just like a living room. This scenic town is a melting pot of various cultures and races represent by various architectural styles of local southern, Chinese, Muslim and Sino Portuguese. However, the project does not reveal any single culture significantly but interprets these local values in combination to the original materials providing contemporary pattern and function.
The feature of Phuket Gateway is not designed as a normal threshold as usually found in other provinces of Thailand, on the other hand, it is generated as a public space comprising of a contemporary building and landscape. The building is linearly positioned facing to the province entrance by utilizing the original contour in the site. The project’s requirement is to make such gateway the landmark, so, we come up with the idea of ‘lively sculpture’ that representing and telling the historical stories about Phuket to the visitors. When visitors are walking through the sculptures, reading, and taking pictures, those interaction between visitors and sculptures will then make sculpture become ‘lively’ and complete on architect’s design philosophy.
The sculptures include concrete columns line up 100 meters to generate the colonnade like an entrance to the Sino Portuguese building, which has an arcade that connects each building and provides access to every part. The columns lead to a high sculptural column covered with granite, this material represents the origin of tin as the local natural resource that brings out the wealthiness to the community long time ago. Each individual piece of granite refers to various cultures combined into a unique town of Phuket. Such high column still acts as a lighthouse in the ocean which is a prominent destination during day and night for visitors.
Functional space is hidden at the back of colonnade sculpture and trees. Internal area is comprised of a service section, such as a tourist information center, government office, police station, restaurant, auditorium and an area for Islamic activities such as prayers. Those spaces are designed as a pavilion divided by pocket sized parks, where natural light is brought in through the translucent roof. The pavilion is under the same roof bringing the simple, peaceful and humble features. Visitors will experience activities and atmosphere as soon as they enter into the building. Also, to make the building interact with the local climatic character, the architect allows the rain flow and the daylight into some part of inner spaces under the concept of life is under natural condition.