Research and urban project, Up Side Down Bangkok, was driven by the need to understand the morphological phenomena of specific urban situations which can be read as a multitude of accidents that slit the urban fabric. In this case, resultant wastelands under the massive concrete expressways are often left in a rough state in the heart of the city. Convinced that these types of in-between spaces have a huge potential in terms of appropriation and reconnection of the divided neighborhoods, Parallel Lab put forward a strategy to convert the negative impact of these leftover spaces into positive icons for a new Bangkok identity. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Bangkok is a city in constant evolution and needs to search out solutions to improve its inter- connectivity. For this reason, elevated expressways skim through the Thailand capital in order to bring forth its expansion, offering a radical though efficient solution to its congestion. Yet, in providing an answer, the expressways also undoubtedly alter the urban landscape and break apart the connective fibers between the city and its people.
The project is located on a 400 meter long section out of the 25,000 meters of leftover space available under the elevated expressway in the dense city center of Bangkok. In order to activate these wasted areas, a three month research on the morphological context and accessibility to the sites and programmatic repartition in the surrounding was carried out.
As a result of the investigation, the more adapted response was to hang a chain of public infrastructures such as theaters, a mahjong parlor, yoga studio, tennis court, organic bar, night-club, etc. under the expressway’s bridges. This succession of a large variety of activities alternately became enclosed or open air for a shelter from the sun and rain by the massive concrete bridge and gives the pedestrians the perfect condition for wandering. Moreover, the uniqueness of the scenery would attract rubbernecks from all over the city as well as inhabitants from the close neighborhoods which would radically transform the atmosphere.
Constructively, a metal frame system was developed which could be adapted to the specific weight of each program, whether it be open air or enclosed. This simple implementation of small structural elements is not only an easy solution to apply in a constrained context, but the flexibility of the construction offers an adjacent pedestrian path and creates a continuous leisure bridge.