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Graeme Bristol

THE CITIZEN ARCHITECT

MAY 2002

Based in part on the report we prepared, HDF secured some funding to renovate the building. As a result, the kids moved out temporarily to the Mercy Centre in February 2002 and are still waiting to move back in. The contractor is doing piecemeal renovations based on verbal instructions and the children are wondering when they can move back in. We are now talking with the staff at the Girls‟ Home about expanding on the renovations to include: 

The kids must be involved in this. They have a right to make this their home. They‟ve been through enough displacement.

There must be a proper front door to the place. Make it a place! The entry must convey that sense of belongingness and the pride of „home‟ every time they come back from school and walk through that door.

All the existing stairs should be relocated. Otherwise the new plan, whatever it might be, will be forced into the same mould as the old one simply by the existing circulation pattern.

There must be more light into the centre of the building. There‟s more than enough floor space in the building that the loss of a single bay will not affect the usability of the space. In fact, it will improve it.

There must be proper fire exits.

As I left Bangkok, I passed a sketch to HDF indicating a location and size for the proposed fire exit along with a proposal for putting up a temporary partition at the north end of the building to separate a temporary dorm for the kids from the construction that would start after we go through a proper design process. One of my fellow faculty members is now working on some preliminary microclimate studies. By the end of May they should be able to move back into their home and by that time we should have some reasonable data from which to start the design process. One aspect of that is continued data collection and monitoring by the children. For example:  inputs into the building: energy, water, food, air change, materials. Where do they come from? Examine water sources, electrical sources, construction materials sources and so on.  outputs from the building: energy, waste (solid/liquid), air.investigation of methods of reducing both inputs and outputs. In this way, the kids get a much stronger sense of the relationship between the concept of sustainability and the actions one takes in the world (like turning out lights when you leave the room), including the design decisions you make.

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Citizen Architect 2002  

1. INTRODUCTION In January of 1998, I came to Bangkok to teach architecture. I came with some general intentions and with a set of ideas abo...

Citizen Architect 2002  

1. INTRODUCTION In January of 1998, I came to Bangkok to teach architecture. I came with some general intentions and with a set of ideas abo...

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