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Urban Flood-Protection Community



Abstract : (Problem) Today the world is facing global warming. The green house effect traps the heat inside Earth’s atmosphere creating the rise in temperature, causes the ice in Polar Regions to melt. Scientists predict that the ocean level will rise to cover the land area in coastal region. Eventually the rising of sea level will reduce amount of land humans can habit. On the other hand, human population continues to grow. Cities continuously develop with limited land. Flooding is an important issue in Bangkok, Thailand. This is not a new discovery in a low-lying city where flooding is a way of life. Thunderstorms and high tides bring torrents of water to many of the city’s neighborhood. At the same time the country is among most densely populated on earth. For years, hundreds of pumps and a network of canals have been pumping floodwater back into Chao Pra Ya River. Dikes and flood walls prevent the water from surging back into the city. Climate change, expected to bring rising sea level and more intense rain storms around the world, threatens to overwhelm Bangkok’s flood defenses. The purpose of the study was to explore how Bangkok could be adapt with the rising sea level from global warming.





Table of Contents Chapter 1 _Flooding < Crisis > General Description Background Problem Cure Chapter 2 _Solution <The Rim > Thesis statement Theoretical framework Scope of Study Definitions Rationale & Importance of study Critical position Objectives & Goals Chapter 3 _Researchh < Case Studies > Amphibious Floating Home The Citadel The FLOAT house Hybrid Block Habitable Bridge Conclusion & critical issues

11 12 13 18 21 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 38 46 52 56 62

Chapter 4 _Site Analysis < Opportunity > Research Result

68 92





General Description : In the recent years, Bangkok has begun to experience severe effects from climate change. Bangkok is in a similar condition as Venice, facing an unpredictable rising sea level. Originally Bangkok grew in harmony with the cycles of monsoon rain and wet rice cultivation. Every year rice farmers celebrate for the rain and flood to come. In the modern years, the city has become disconnected from the water-based urbanism. Currently Bangkok is sinking due to the disappearance of underground water. On the other hand, the sea level is rising due to global warming. More than ever, an initiative must be taken in order to solve the flooding problem. Through extensive research, I have discovered that Bangkok floods naturally. I’ve came to a conclusion that major areas of Thailand are flooding due to Bangkok’s flood protection. River drainage is a big water network, any alteration impacts other area. Thailand’s geography is similar to a “rice bowl”. Natural north steep terrain on the upper basin of the river and Bangkok’s water-defense walls hold water in the middle terrain. Thousand people die each year due to flooding. The root of the problem is the fact that people detest flooding and want to completely separate water from their lives. At the beginning even I myself believe that humans cannot live with flooding. I’ve discovered that the solution is not running from it but living with it. If we can reconnect people to the water and let the water flow naturally, we could mitigate damages in other areas. Floating structure seems to be a solution fit for both rising sea level and reconnect Thai people back to Chao Praya River.


Background Problem: (Bangkok Flooding) Setting Bangkok, < Chao Praya River development > In order to understand Bangkok, we must understand how it came to what it is today. Bangkok is situated on a slight rise in the predominantly flat terrain of the lower Chao Praya river delta. Over the past 200 years, Bangkok has expanded from a small collection of villages, scattered among canal and rice paddies alongside the Chao Praya River, to an enormous city. The city originated in 1767 when Burmese armies invaded the old capital of Ayutthaya and burned down the entire city. Those that survived were captured and carted off as slaves, royal families included. Until, a Thai general named Phraya Thaksin (pra-ya-tak-sin) fought and won independence from the Burmese and founded a new capital at Thonburi on the Western bank of the Chao Praya River, opposite from the modern Bangkok. He chose the lower basin of the river because of its strategic location on the flood plain. Water was not only a natural defense to slow down the Burmese army; but it was also an essential for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes brought disease and that held off many Burmese soldiers. After the war, Phraya Thaksin declared himself king and reclaimed most of the original area of Thailand. After his success, King Thaksin bacame excessive in his power and was finally ousted in a coup. Some articles suggest that King Thaksin pretend to be mad so that he could retire from kingship. As a result, Chao Phraya Chakri(chak- kri) a close friend of King Thaksin, succeed in kingship.

Immediately after the coup in 1782, King Chakri moved the capital from Thonburi to the eastern bank of the river and called this area Ratanakosin(ra-ta-na-ko-sin), and the area around it, Bangkok. King Chakri renovated many of the existing temples in the area. These temples became the major present day tourist destination. Under Chakri and his successors, Bangkok became a trading city and continued to expand. The Chinese traders came in and developed a community along Yaowarat road, expanding from Ratankosin. The fourth king in the Chakri family was a brilliant leader who skillfully negotiated with foreign countries and prevented the colonization of Thailand. Under his reign, Bangkok benefited from his trade policies with an expanded port. As the city earned more income, the city was able to develop paved streets. Bangkok growth could be separated into three phrases: a royal fortified city based on tribute; a commercial port grown through trade and immigration, an industrial urban center based on cheap labor. There are 3 factors involved in the process: (1) Bangkokâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role as a government center, (2) the overall growth of Thailandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population, and (3) the physical development of Bangkok from a city based on water (river and canals) to one based on land. During 1824-1851, the numbers of canal construction went from 9.1 km to 62.2 km. City and port grew together, and contemporary maps illustrate just how important the river was to city


development. The major trading buildings were all concentrated along the banks of the river. Bangkok grew in elongated fashion along the river, with little extension away from the river until well into the twentieth century. The extensions tended to be long canals cut from the main river. Even with the invention of a railway network, more than 80 percent of exported rice was carried by water from the interior to the rice mills. Water ways dominated rice transportation. During 1890, Bangkok started to reform to centralize administrative control in Bangkok. Bangkok wanted to develop a sense of a modern capital. Resources earned from centralized taxes and Chinese immigrants provided resources for city expansion. This extension had physical expression in the construction of new city streets over the canals. The streets were of considerable importance since, for the first time, Bangkok began to lose its connection with water and became a land-based city. Afterward, building construction, tramways, electricity, gas-lighting, and other developments start to take over the city. By 1910 the shape and aspect of the city had been substantially altered. Before 1890 most residential areas were built on the banks of the Chao Praya River and canals. After 1890 settlements, residential and commercial areas started to expand with the introduction of western technology such as trams, bicycles, and later automobiles. This period was the acceleration of population growth, major Chinese immigration, and expansion of a land-based city. As the roads were built, the value of the land went up. The traditional


Thai style home is replaced with row houses. Traditional Thai houses took up too much space, while row houses provide more dwelling units with less space. Traditional Thai houses were raised on pillars to ventilate the humidity and the space underneath the house could absorb the run-off water. Row houses were entirely constructed from concrete on the ground, and result in faster run-off water in the city. Furthermore, the roads increased the value of the land greatly; the demand for roads went up at a faster pace than ever before. As roads were developed, the transportation by boat grew less significant, the canalsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; size were reduced to create rooms for buildings.


Flooding Researchers have documented the flood in 1995. It damaged people and their properties on floodplains of the Chao Praya river basin. Excessive rainfall and related runoff inundated over 15,000 of floodplains and caused losses to agricultural land and developments along the river. The inundation nearly exceed 16 billion cu.m., dike breaching and over-topping occurred at almost every reach of the river. However, the extensive inundation considerably relieved the urban areas located further downstream. The Royal Irrigation Department initiated a strategy plan of flood mitigation in the Chao Praya Basin. The plan was formulated with structural and nonstructural measures covering the use of floodplains by preservation of present natural retarding effect, assurance of safety level of major cities, enhancement of safely level in agricultural area, and as an institutional arrangement of implementation of measures. Flood damages can be classified into 2 categories; tangible and intangible. Tangible are damages that can be calculated by a quantity, such as buildings, side walks, landscaping, etc. The intangible damages include traffic disruption, inconvenience to citizens, waterborne disease, chemicals from run-off water, etc. Many times floods take people’s lives and instill fear in the citizens. In a tropical climate, if the water reaches the house, it means the mosquitoes can lay eggs inside the house. Without proper sleeping space, people can get infected from mosquito borne diseases at much faster pace.


Causes : (Why?) Causes can be divided into 2 category: natural and man-made. Natural • The location of Bangkok is naturally flooded. The upper part of the river basin has steep terrain while the lower basin of the river is extensively flat. The water on the upper part of the river gets collected at an extremely fast pace and flow at a slow pace down the mild terrain. Naturally people use this flood plain to grow crops and transport the goods. After urbanization occurred, the city try to separate itself from the river and change the natural flow of the water. With the small development at the beginning the water flow does not have much influence. As the city developed with more hard paving, water flowed at a much faster pace and came back to the city. • Local heavy rainfall is usually the main cause of inland floods, as the rain often exceeds the drainage capacity. Every Monsoon season the rain comes heavily and causes water to overflow from the river and canal. The average annual rainfall is 1450 millimeters. During the wet season 88% of the rainfall extends from May through October (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration). The rainwater in Bangkok cannot drain effectively and causes localized flooding in low areas and major traffic roads. • Tides: Drainage of river floods around Gulf of Thailand is influenced heavily by the tidal fluctuation at the river mouth. This effect lengthens the period of flooding in Bangkok and its neighbor city. The highest tides occur in November and December which can inundate some area at the river’s peak flow.

Man made • Deforestation has reduced the lag time between rain fall and run-off. Trees greatly reduce the speed of water before it reaches the city. Without trees, the rapid run-off increases erosion of soil surface particles, resulting in sedimentation of the water. This causes water to drain even slower. • Uncoordinated development of urban areas changes land topography and the flow of water. In urban areas, the majority if the surface is covered with buildings and hard surfaces. These hard surfaces include houses, roads, paving, buildings, etc. Rainfall tends to immediately turn into run-off flowing to the drainage system. This is opposite from the rural areas, where vegetation and soil retain and absorb water. Developments in the delta areas are all related to creating higher flood risk. More farms and agriculture can help mitigate the flood risk, while roads and railways obstruct inland flow. Any development that reduces the size of the river bank is a good example of action that decreases the flow stream capacity. Even the small things such as garbage and unregulated dumping of sewage may cause obstruction in urban drainage. The uncoordinated development tends to decrease the effectiveness of inland and river drainage system. • Destruction of flood embankments is a serious issue in flood protection in Thailand. People who live outside of flood protection zone destroyed those embankments in order to reduce the water level in their area. Flood management of the Chao Praya River basin admits that it is difficult to protect and monitor the flood defense structure.

Over abstracting of ground water is one of the main causes • for land subsidence. Some people called this phenomenon “Bangkok is sinking”. Land subsidence causes deeper flooding and longer water logging. The Thai government has succeeded in limiting the pumping of underground water in the Bangkok area by using water from other river. • Global warming creates a tendency of higher fluctuation of rainfall. It is a great debate of how much the water will rise in a year, but we know for sure it will. The sun radiates heat to the earth to warm the atmosphere, the land, and the oceans. After it reaches the planet, the heat is re-radiated out to space at longer wavelengths (infrared rays).In the past the thermal budget of the earth was balanced, with the radiation from the sun equal to the thermal radiation from the earth. With the utilization of fossil fuels and rapid population growth the green house gasses tip the balance of natural ecosystem. Green house gasses in the atmosphere absorb some of the heat, preventing it from leaving the atmosphere. As the planet’s mean temperature increase, the polar ices start to melt, resulting in a rising of sea levels. All these changes are projected to cause a sea level rise of 31-110 cm per century on aglobal scale (Vongvisessomjai 2010). Rain season lasts longer than in the past and sea levels tend to be higher which affects the low land area along Chao Praya River. Higher sea levels also reduces the speed of the water drainage.


Cure : (History of remedies) Past Bangkok Flood Protection Development The first scheme was the overbank flow protection scheme. The dykes were constructed along both sides of Chao Praya river from Nakhon Sawan down to Bangkok. These dykes are now 300 km long and used as a high way. Second scheme is the master plan for flood protection in Bangkok and its vicinity. First phase finished in 1995. This scheme consists of 74 km of dykes, starting from Rangsit Canal down towards the sea at Samut Prakan, and 20 pumping stations along the Chao Praya River. This development could protect flooding by 1,500 sq. km and drain 30 million cubic meters per day. The concrete flood walls continued to be constructed until 2000 with a higher capacity of 65 million cubic meter of water a day. Royal flood management His majesty the King has suggested various methodologies to suit local conditions and to conform to the availability of government officials and budgetary constraints. He devised a flood management system for Bangkok which he calls Kaem Ling (Monkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cheeks). The concept is to temporarily store water in some places at high tide and drain them out at low tide. Monkeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cheeks project has developed through both east and west of Chao Praya river. Other agencies are developing higher flood barrier,s polder systems, working to improve river and drainage system, and installing multi-purpose dams.


The concept of lowland management was also proposed to absorb water in upper terrain. This concept requires accurate prediction of the flood peak. Once the water reaches its highest level, the gate will open to absorb water into these lowlands, which are are usually agriculture fields. The farmer is compensated for their loss if the flood damages their crops.

Future Proposal To assure the safety level of urban areas against 100-year return period at Bangkok, Siripong Hongspreug the director of the Office of Budget Programming and Project Planning, Wirat Khaouppatham the director of the Office of Hydrology and Water management, Suwit Thanopanuwat an Expert on Water Resources Development Planning, and Thailandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Royal Irrigation Department have proposed a construction of diversion channels for the Chao Praya River in combination with ring levees. Diversion channels are a very expensive solution. From a technical point of view, it a solution that can provide opportunites for enhancement of protection levels in upstream area, while sufficiently protecting the downstream area. This proposal will require an enormous investment as well as a number of house evacuations and large land purchases. On the other hand, the diversion channel can be used as large-scale infrastructure for regional development such as transportation, land and town planning, etc. After evaluation, this project could improve living conditions, decrease waterborne disease, increase work opportunities, and so on. This proposal is effective against 100-yr flood plain for urban area, and 10-25 yr for agricultural land.







Thesis Statement : [Solution] A master plan of diversion channels and floating structures could provide the community of Bangkok, Thailand a precedent for how to sustainably adapt and live with flooding along Chao Pra Ya River.


Theoretical Framework < Variables >

Floatation Technology

Urban Water Front

Tropical Climate Construction

Floatation Technology Floating foundation is what makes structure afloat. Some people believe that it’s the new method of construction for global warming. It is also a way to connect people to the water. The thesis aim is to explore different types of floating foundation for appropriate activities. Some people like the shake; but most people feel uncomfortable living on it. Floating structure does not necessary have to be on water but could be for the building on flood zone. Tropical Climate Construction Technology Thailand has a very unique climate. By understanding the traditional and local construction technology, we can understand building’s limitation, passive heating and cooling strategy, termites, mosquito, available materials, culture, etc. It also informs how people in the past live with heavy rain. Urban Water Front Majority of cities in the world contain some forms of water; river, lake, or ocean. More than often these cities also have to deal with flooding. Bangkok is a river-based city that became disconnected from the river. The project’s aim is to connect Thai people back to the Chao Praya River. Venice is a water-based city that has to deal with flooding. Its flooding prevention strategy would be compared to Bangkok to see possible similarity and adaptation.


Scope of the Study Research Objectives - Analyze the need for structure on water exploration - Explore and investigate floating foundation possibility - Explore method of improving water condition - Research benefit of living on water - Investigate Tropical Climate Construction - Explore how the water front condition could be improved

Lastly urban water front research explores activities along water front city. Such research could led to an appropriate response to develop a better quality of life. Thai culture and event such as Loy Krathong could be a powerful message to display the need to go back traditional water life style. The importance of accepting water as a part of our life could prepared people for the worse disaster.

The primary focus of the study was based on research concerning flood protection of Thailand. Bangkok development has lead itself toward flooding problem. These flood protections work to certain degree and eventually will fail for the rising sea level. The best way to solve flood problem is to inform people of possibility to live with water. As the world changes, built environment must adapt to provide human more suitable shelter. The thesis aim to develop a prototype of floating shelter in tropical climate. The research will include floating structureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foundation structural system, HVAC, and mechanical works. The prototype will be developed for different site condition; flooded plain, river, and flooded dense city. Eventhough strofoam is the most reliable material for floating foundation, other local materials with lower cost will also be considered; bamboo, oil barrels, wooden log, etc.



Definitions floating foundation - buoyant footing that keep the building afloat IMFS - International Marine Floating Structures, a company that invents positive floating positive foundation and develops floating community. positive floating foundation - a type of floating foundation that composed of styrofoam in platform. IMFS claims that it is unsinkable because it is not a vessel, but a platform with millions of air particle. negative floating foundation - a type of floating foundation that rely on large air space to float. Similar to a boat, it may sink if water get inside and take up air space. Loi Krathong - a festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand on the evening of the full moon in November. “Loi” means “to float”. “Krathong” is a small raft of flower decorated raft. This event meant to honor the river for providing water. Chao Praya - a major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial plain forming the center of the country. It runs through Bangkok, and empties into the gulf of Siam.

Rationale [ Intent ]: No matter what human decide to do, one thing is certain: Global Warming is inevitable. The Earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surface average temperature is rising. Human will continue to use fossil fuel and destroying the forest. An increase in global temperature will cause Glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice to melt. The melting water will be added to the ocean on the Earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s atmosphere and causes Sea water levels to rise. Furthermore Bangkok is a city located on clay soil over a body of underground water. As the city expands by heavy high rise building and people keep using underground water, the city eventually sinks while sea water keep rising. Smith Dharmasaroja, head of Thailandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s National Disaster Warning Center claim that the water rises by 2.5 feet every 10 years. In the worst case scenario Bangkok could be under water by 2034. For more than decades, Thai people have to live with flooding. Flood brought diseases, damages, traffic jam, and takes away lives. Every year tons of sand bags are used to block off water from coming into the urban area. I believe architecture is the evolution of built environment. Similar to living things, the ones capable of adapting survive. I want to investigate how architecture could improve and provide a safer environment for people whose live in a flooding area. The project should not be seen as a disaster relief; but a new typology that take advantage of the changing world. This facility could be an example to all which may open doors to evolve design strategies to combat rising sea level.

The project aim is to explore the potential of floating structure as an alternative for flooding. The potential of the thesis has the capacity to mitigate the damage of flooding. The project is to be connected with urban area as a role model to educate the neighbors. The community could learn to live in a better condition with flooding. Chao Pra Ya River once known as the main blood vessel of Thailand. Thai people use to travel, trade, and transport by boats. After invention of industrial revolution and automobile, the river is abandoned and became a waste dump from the city and industrial factory. The project aim is also to raise awareness of condition of Chao Pra Ya River and hopefully bring people to restore Chao Pra Ya river to what it used to be.

Importance of Study Each year flooding has displaced thousands of people home and kills hundreds of people throughout the country. Human has great impact in altering natural flow of water. The concept of floating structure is a mean to reconnect Thai culture back to the water. This research could a beginning for a bigger urbanism as the climate change start to overtake coastal cities.


Critical Position [ Hypothesis ] : The project suggests that global warming is inevitable. Regardless of the solution, sea water level will continue to rise. The precaution must be taken. Human must adapt in order to survive. Flooding will eventually become a part of our lives. Culturally Thai people view flooding as a disaster that brings damage and diseases. The project aim is to use architecture as a mean to demonstrate a way to live with water, not run away from it.

Introduction: The thesis project proposes the design and development of a self sufficient mix-use floating structure that include water cleaning facility, river farming, commercial retails, and apartments. The project will harness available renewable energy from the site located on Chao Pra Ya River, Bangkok, Thailand. The project must be able to produce enough energy to sustain itself in case of emergency. This project is free of any wasteful materials; this factor will lead to recycling everything including waste water and other leftovers. A structure such as this will adapt with the rising sea level due to the global warming.


Objectives & Goals: 1. Develop self-sustainable complex on the river by obtain onsite renewable energy such as sun, wind, and waste. 2. Explore a way to live rising sea level 3. Develop a sense of community 4. Minimize impact on the river ecosystem 5. Become a model for future development

Personal goal Future of Bangkok is uncertain due to the unpredictable climate change. I want to study my own culture; a, I have to go live there in the near future. I want to combine Thai traditional construction with the Netherlandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; floating home to see possibility of an appropriate floating structure for global warming era. I also want to study history of flood prevention technique from large budget to small budget.

Mission Statement -Inspire and educate people to accept and cope with global warming -Become the future reference for self-sustainable development on the river -Develop appropriate aesthetic for building on the river





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01_case study

Amphibious Floating Homes [ Factor Architen ] Maasbommel River // Netherlands Brief Description: year size basic organization

: : :

client special features Physical context

: : :

2006 5000 sf. [ 26 units ] linear organization on the edge of maasbommel river Duravermeer developer houses on floating foundation The community is built on the government designated flood zone.

source : “Floating Homes, Factor Architecten, world architecture news, architecture jobs.” Web. 25 Oct. 2010. Strategy -floating foundation on pillars Relevence This case study is an example of floating house community on slope along the river. The floating foundation on pillars are a good solution to keep the house steady and float only when the water rises. The project could utilize this flotation when a structure is locatd where the elevation change. Description Due to Netherlands’ risks of rising sea level, Dura Vermeer has developed homes that can float with rising water along the Maasbommel River. They have invented “floating foundations”. They have hollowed concrete cubes at the base to create buoyancy. Under normal water level the house sits on steel pillars. On high water level the house is floating by hollow concrete body but anchor to mooring posts. The house can withstand a rise in water up to 13 ft.

Figure 1.1

2 parking spots for 1 residence unit

parking spots

car and bicycle road one way south > north

public road

community gate :exit gate

Figure 1.2

community gate

pole: block off car

bicycle sign

car and bicycle road

public road

Figure 1.3 ^ This circular parking is provided for 7 residences from this location to the north.

Figure 1.4 ^ Entrance to the community is located on the south side. The residenceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cars and the public bicycles share the same road. The residenceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vehicle access is one way street, south to north. 31

3 32

Mooring post

Floating deck

Mooring post

Living room



0 1__ F L O A T I N G H O M E S

Figure 1.5

^ Figure 1.6 : As the house moving up and down, the Mooring post is what holds them in place.

Boat dock Figure 1.7

Figure 1.8



Figure 1.10

Figure 1.13

Figure 1.14

Figure 1.11 > Site Layout analysis <

Figure 1.9

The houses are situated along the Massbommel river. The units are designed in a single straight line to maximize the view and to obtain the breeze. The parking is varied depending where the unit is located. Each unit has at least 2 parking spot and a boat dock. Seven units on the North are out in the water; the rest are connected to the land. The units on the water have parking on land, but boat dock next to the house. The units on land have parking next to the house, but the boat dock is a little further in the water. < Figure 1.12

site organization






cooling strategy


^ Figure 1.15 > analysis < The amphibous floating home is the first of its kind to have a floating house that sits on pillars. This project is among the first attempt to cope with the flooding problem in the Netherlands. The developers want to minimize floating home vibration by having the house float only during the flooding. During the normal time, the house is supported by steel pillars. If there is a flood, the house is raised with the Mooring pillars to hold the house in place. After the flooding is gone, the house comes back to where it belongs. Compared to the traditional method of using logs and oil barrels, the stryofoam performs much better because it contains millions of air molecules to absorb the impact. Furthermore the house only floats when there is a flood. Two units are connected together because the bigger the platform, the less it shakes. The lowest levels are also utilized as a storage to create buoyancy for the house to float. 35

02_case study

0 2__ T H E


Citadel Floating Apartment Complex [ Water Studio ]

3 36

New Water, City of Westland // The Netherlands Brief Description: Year size basic organization client special features

: : : : :

Physical context


Start construction Mar 2010 240â&#x20AC;&#x2122;x420â&#x20AC;&#x2122; platform [60 units] 0 - shape around courtyard ONW OPP/BNG apartment complex on floating platform foundation The community are built on the government polderising zone.

source : Ankie Stam, Water Studio NL, Strategy -floating platform on water -Depolderising Relevence This project is entirely float on water with gigantic platform to keep the structure steady. The ratio between platform and built area could be used to determine appropriate size of the platform. The parking underneath building is a good strategy to keep the car safe from water. The thesis project could adapt the floatation system, parking strategy, and units layout for the apartment complex.

^ Figure 2.1

^ Figure 2.3 //: Depolderising Development

^ Figure 2.2

The Citadel is Europe’s first floating apartment. Citadel means “fortress for protecting a town”. Its walls are designed to be the last line of defense when “the enemy” breaches the other components of the fortification system. The Citadel consists of 60 units which makes it the first floating development with more than 30 housing units/acre water. Internationally, the world are watching how this project performs and could be the first model of floating aperrtment complex on water. Holland has as many as 3500 polders which are below sea level and kept dry by pumping water out 24/7. The citadel is part of an urban development with 1200 houses that will be built in a depolderised zone, called the New Water . The New Water is a polder that will be deliberately filled with water after a few centuries artificially dry. The depolderising is done to protect other surrounding polders from floods during times of heavy rainfall. The only way to make such a project financially feasible is buying out the existing houses and building and selling new houses that are adapted to water fluctuations. 37

CITADEL 0 2__ T H E 3 38

< Figure 2.4

< Figure 2.5 The architect intended to create a sense of neighborhood by creating terraces. In a sense, this project could be catergorize as a floating courtyard house. This organization allows the ventilation and natural light to penetrate all the units.

Figure 2.6

Figure 2.7

Figure 2.8

Figure 2.9


CITADEL 0 2__ T H E 4 40


b section a

section b

Figure 2.10

> Comfort < The comfort level for this development is almost the same as in a high rise building. Human cannot feel any movement. This is because of the dimensions. The building is made of lightweight construction but special care is given to the lowest possible noise level. The same standards are used as for normal land based dwelling. The floating foundation is a large and heavy concrete caisson that will house the Citadels car park. Common technology but custom engineered for the dimensions of approximately 240 x 420 feet and 9 feet high with 1 foot thick walls. Construction of the building will be done in a temporary dry dock on location. The actual depth of the water after depolderizing would be 6 feet while 12 feet of depth is needed. For that, the construction site will be dug out which will create space for the 9 feet of depth of the floating construction. When the building is completed, the pumps will stop and the site will flood. While being flooded the building will start to float. [ area of units / area of platform ] area of units: area of platform: total area:

190,000 sf. 100,800 sf. 290,800 sf.



area [units/platform] = 53%


Figure 2.11

0 2__ T H E 4 42



^ Figure 2.12 parking





site organization






sustainable strategies


^ Figure 2.13

> analysis < The building is organized in circle shape split in half. This organization allow residences to get views of the water from all sides. The boats can access all around the building. The courtyard is an important element of the complex because this is where social interactions happen. Furthermore, the courtyard provides natural ventilation and natural light to all units. The parking is located underneath the building to help the entire structure to float on the water. Instead of spreading floating houses, the apartments stack up the units to allow its residence to enjoy the view of a larger body of water. The architect wants to make a statement that anything is possible on the water surface; the parking, the garden, a livable environment. 43

3__T h e F L O A T H o u s e 44

03_case study

The FLOAT House [ Morphosis Architects ] Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans // USA Brief Description: Year size basic organization client special features

: : : : :

award physical context

: :

July 2009 1,000 sf. rectilinear Make It Right Foundation single residence on floating foundation located in New Orleans Leed Platinum The house is built after Hurricane Katrina.

Strategy -Floating foundation on land Relevance This is an example of how the floatation work on land. Any house in flood zone could be construct using this method. The guiding posts are buried in the ground, while foundation are constructed from stryofoam and concrete. The thesis project could utilize this floatation for the land floating structures. The day lighting strategy could also be implemented in a small building. ^ Figure 3.1

^ Figure 3.2 This house is constructed by Morphosis Architects and UCLA graduated students, under the director Thom Mayne. The FLOAT House is a new model for flood-safe, affordable and sustainable housing that is designed to float securely with rising water levels. The concept emerged from a study of the flooding record, social and cultural history of the city, and the ecology of the Mississippi delta. In the event of flooding, the base of the house acts as a raft, allowing the house to rise vertically on guide posts; securely floating up to 12 feet as water levels rise. The design aim is to minimize homeownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s investment in their property. This concept also allows for


^ Figure 3.3


^ Figure 3.4

^ Figure 3.5

^ Figure 3.4

^ Figure 3.6

Day lighting Strategy In Summer, the direct sunlight cannot get inside the living area. In Winter, sunlight can directly reach the habitable area. The light shelf on top bring in indirect light to illuminate the house.

^ Figure 3.7


^ Figure 3.9

^ Figure 3.8 48

^ Figure 3.10

site organization






sustainable strategies


^ Figure 3.11 > analysis < The house is built to be affordable low-cost homes, that respond to local culture and climate. This project could provide its own water through rain collector and power through photovoltaics. The window and clerestory windows are designed to provide natural day lighting without relying on electricity. In event of flooding, the house could float with the rising water. The living room is located on the entry. The master bedroom and a bedroom is located on the back. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organized in a simple manner where the public area is on the outside area and private area is located on the inner part of the house. 49

04_case study

0 4__H Y B R I D B L O C K

The Hybrid Block [ Steven Holl ] Amsterdam // The Netherlands Brief Description:

5 50

Year size basic organization special features

: : : :

Physical context


1994 1,000 sf. U-shape 3 large super block mixed-use complex 3 large super block next to a canal

source : â&#x20AC;&#x153;Housing Block in Amsterdam.â&#x20AC;? Croquis 78: 168171. Print. Strategy -U-shape for cooling and natural light -commerical projects on lower floor, residential on top Relevence This is a mixed-use commercial-residential project. The building foot print could be studied and analyse for thesis project area calculation. General Description The project is located on the re-used shipping quays at the canal Erst. It contains large housing block of 182 apartments. The new 18 story block is envisioned as a section of a new city with several functions: offices, art gallery, restaurant, boat house, deli, and a health club. Eleven apartment types are accessed by very different paths. The center of the block is a huge water court which can accommodate visiting houseboats in the Amsterdam tradition. The outer skin of the building is black. Steven Holl chose blue, red, and yellow as a guide for vertical circulation. The units interlock in the U-shape organization. The openings on higher floor are for public open area.

^ Figure 4.1

^ Figure 4.2 51

0 3__H Y B R I D B L O C K

//: Area analysis ://


lllllll lllllll lllllll lllllll

^ Figure 4.3

residences offices services circulation

70% 9% 5% 16 %

site organization





sustainable strategies



^ Figure 4.4 > analysis < The building is oriented toward the canal to get view and breeze from the water. The building may appear to be a U-shaped but it is actually consists of 4 towers. Each vertical circulation is painted with primary colors which guide the visitor through the building. Level 8-18 are separated by vertical circulation. The lowest level mainly consist of the boat dock. Levels 2-6 are mainly offices. The 7th level is the area where residential services are located. The pool, basketball court, shop, and cafe appear to be 9% of the entire building. The parking is located underground toward the south side of the building.



05_case study


Habitable Bridge over the River Thames [ Zaha Hadid] Thames River//London // United Kingdom Brief Description: Year size basic organization special features

: : : :

Physical context


1996 (unbuilt) N/A Linear 3 large super block mixed-use complex 3 large super block next to a canal

source : â&#x20AC;&#x153;Housing Block in Amsterdam.â&#x20AC;? Croquis 78: 168171. Print. Strategy -U-shape for cooling and natural light -commerical projects on lower floor, residential on top Relevence This is a mixed-use commercial-residential project. Strategic location of program and activites could be studied and use in the thesis complex. General Description The habitable bridge extend civic space and street activities that exist within the city, connecting 2 sides of the river. The bridge takes the form of a continuous horizontal skyscraper connecting the 2 banks, in which all kind of activities exist.





basic geometry


vert circulation


horz circulation


sustainable strategies

^ Figure 4.4 > analysis < The building uses height to create hierarchy. First to third floor contain 24-7 activity program such as restaurants, bars, and gallery. Fourth floor contains flats and semi-private recreation. The structure is raised on pilllars from the river. The access to the building is drawn from major open space, which break the water boundary to create a civic space. The small building mass allow natural ventilation and natural light to reach the space.



RECAP > Conclusion and critical issues< //Flooding From case studies, there are 3 types of floating foundation, 4 ways of dealing with water. None of them is necessarily better than the others. Each case study deals with different site conditions. Amphibious floating home is situated on the steep slope site on the Maasbommel River. The architect chooses to use floating foundation on pillars to hold up the structure. Soil plays an important role in choosing the foundation. The Citadel took a different approach where the entire structure floats on water. The FLOAT House is different where the site is nowhere near the water, but it is a preparation to protect investment from the flooding. Although the Hybrid block is next to the water but the site is high enough that it does not effect by flooding. Depending on the site condition, the foundation must be chosen appropriately. //Cooling and Heating Strategy Each case study comes in different sizes, but all of them have access to natural ventilation and natural light. In small project, it is easy to obtain both. In a big project, the structure is either in an “O” shape or a “U” shape to allow passive cooling and passive lighting. These organizations also provide views to its residences. The Citadel attempts to pump out water from underneath to cool the floor through the entire structure. // Design Philosophy There is a big gap of attitude toward the floating home. In the Netherlands, designers view flooding as oppotuniry to create more luxurious housing. Water is an important element in creating these communities. In New Orleans, Thom Mayne views floating home as a disaster relief. His FLOAT house is designed toward mass production that could be available for everybody.

//Sense of community In an apartment, sense of community is a big issue especially in a floating apartment because the structure is separated from the land. In a typical apartment, the residences never get to know their neighbor. One reason is there is no reason for them to be in a hallway. The Citadel provides a great example of how to resolve this issue by providing a large area of interior courtyard and opening in partitions. These two strategies could provide higher chance of interaction for its residences. Amphibious Floating Home provides parking for 2 site conditions. First situation is a site on a low slope where it is possible to have parking at the entrance of the house. It is convenient for the home owner but it is separate the community apart. The second situation is a steep slope; the house has to stay in the water. The parking is located at the entrance before the dock. This organization is not convenient for the home owner; however, the houses are closer to each other and have better sense of community. In the case of the Citadel, the parking is underneath the structure. There is more space for people to get to know one another. In Hybrid Block, the complex creates a sense of community by providing shops, basketball court, pool, and gallery. These activities activate the space. These activities are also visible to most of the units. These amenities are located on the 7th floor which reserved for only the people who live there. It also on the way before each residence gets to their apartment unit.

> 500 150 10 10 100 230 100 1100

Essential Indoor 40 apartment gym shop restaurant arcade Lobby meeting room circulation (10%) total

44000 1000 1000 1500 1500 800 500 5000 58300

Essential Outdoor pool terraces dock 60 parking bicycle racks motorcycle parking total

1000 5000 2000 12000 500 1000 21500

Project total area


The apartment unit is mainly for people to live and attain a high level of density. There is more research that needs to be done for specific needs of clients. These square footages are based from the FLOAT home.

> In order to create a sense of community, these activities are needed. Shop and restaurants create jobs for its residences . In case of flooding and the apartment is disconnected from the city, the community can survive on its own for a short period of time.

> Similar to interior indoor function, the outdoor activities are just as important. The Pool and terraces give people a reason to get out of their apartment and meet their neighbors. > Parking is calculated at a ratio of 1.5 per apartment units(40 X 1.5 = 60 parking spots). In Thailand, boats are not a big means of transportation, so the dock is limited to 2000 sf. Motorcycle and bicycle are another form of transportation. It has smaller size than cars, so it is limit to 1500 sf.


Apartment 1 unit 2 bedroom 2 toilet laundry storage kitchen Living room balcony total





Conceptual Design > Space organization <

Bubble diagram

adjacency & area lay out

Conceptual Design > Schematic Massing <

Scheme 1 The entire structure is floating water. Services are located at the ground level. The parking is located on the basement level. The floating road will be used to access the building. The building is organized in (2) I’s for all units to get natural light and natural ventilation.

Scheme 2 The complex is divided in 4 zones. Zone 1 “Float on land” is consisted of commerical area. The buildings in this zone foundation will be made similar to Thom Mayne’s FLOAT house. Zone 2 “Float on slope” is consisted of services for the apartment. The building foundation will be constructed similar to Amphibious floating Home. There will be pillars to support the structure and float only when it’s flood. Zone 3 “Floating on water - no shake” is consisted of apartment and terraces with parking underneath. This zone will be constructed similar to the Citadel. With gigantic platform, the building will not shake as much. Zone 4 “Floating on water - shake” is consisted of only active activity such as pool and dock. This will be small floating foundation that shakes the users. 63

Citation Figure 1.1

“Floating Homes by Factor Architecten in Maasbommel, Netherlands - Modern, Contemporary, Interior, House, Home Design on Home Design Home.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Figure 1.2-1.4

“Google Maps.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Figure 1.5 – 1.8

“Floating Homes by Factor Architecten in Maasbommel, Netherlands - Modern, Contemporary, Interior, House, Home Design on Home Design Home.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Figure 1.9

Trace over Google map

Figure 1.10

“Floating Homes by Factor Architecten in Maasbommel, Netherlands - Modern, Contemporary, Interior, House, Home Design on Home Design Home.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Figure 1.11

Trace over Google map

Figure 1.12

“Floating Homes, Factor Architecten, world architecture news, architecture jobs.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Figure 1.13-1.15

Hand Drawn

Figure 2.1

“Google Maps.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Figure 2.2 – 2.11

Stam, Ankie. “Water Studio.NL - News.” Web. 27 Oct. 2010.

Figure 2.12

Trace over section, drawing from Water Studio. NL

Figure 2.13

Hand Drawn

Figure 3.1-3.2

“The float house by Morphosis - New Orleans for Make It Right | Architecture Lab.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010.

Figure 3.3

“Thom Mayne Floats An Idea for New Orleans - 2009-10-12 04:00:00 | Interior Design.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010.


Figure 3.7

Hand Drawn

Figure 3.8

“Morphosis Floats a New Idea in New Orleans.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010.

Figure 3.9

“Architect Thom Mayne, UCLA students create floating house for New Orleans residents / UCLA Newsroom.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010.

Figure 3.10

“The float house by Morphosis - New Orleans for Make It Right | Architecture Lab.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010.

Figure 3.11

Hand Drawn

Figure 4.1 – 4.2

“Housing Block in Amsterdam.” Croquis 78: 168-171. Print.

Figure 4.3

Trace over plans

Figure 4.4

Hand Drawn



CHAPTER 4 _SITE ANALYSIS < Opportunity >


[ Bangkok ] Thailand


[ China Town ] Sampantawong, BKK




[ The Rim ], BKK

Site The site is in Thailand. Thailand has a warm, tropical climate affected by an annual monsoon, with a rainy season from June to October and a dry season the rest of the year. Temperatures average 75 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, with the highest temperatures from March to May and the lowest in December and January. Tropical, rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September. Dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to midMarch, southern isthmus always hot and humid. There are three seasons: the cool season (November to February), the hot season (April to May), and the rainy season (June to October), though downpours rarely last more than a couple of hours The site is located in Samphanthawong(Sam-phan-tha-wong) district, next to Chao Pra Ya River. Chao Pra Ya is a major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial plain forming the centre of the country. It runs through Bangkok, the capital city, and then empties into the Gulf of Siam. In Bangkok, the Chao Phraya is a major transportation artery for a vast network of river buses, cross-river ferries and water taxis, also known as longtails. More than 15 boat lines operate on the rivers and canals of the city. Floods are a natural phenomenon in the Chao Phraya river Basin and while residents have historically adapted their lifestyle to deal with annual flood events they cause significant economic losses.




500 ft

Refer to lengend next page (sorry, printer is broken )

Site Context < Site Influence > Educational



Bus Stop

Train Station

Police Station


15 minutes away from the site is Yao Wa Rat Road or China Town. The China Town is an old business center, selling all types od goods. It has been the main center for trading by the Chinese community since they moved from their old site some 200 years ago. Yaowarat road is also famous for all kinds of delicious foods, and become foods street at night. 10 minutes north west from the site is boat dock where people choose to cross Chao Pra Ya river. This boat dock is faster than car because there is no traffic involved. Across from Chao Pra Ya river is Community college and Somdet Chao praya hospital. Thai culture is deeply connected to religious. There are temples on almost every city block in the area. Every morning the monks would walk around the city for People to Tum Boon(food and money donation). Monk can only eat 2 meals a day; in the morning and lunch before 12 oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;clcok. People either buy or prepare food in early morning and wait in front of their house for the monk to come. We believe in karma. If we do goods, the goods will return to us. Some occasion, people would prepare a large amount of food and bring it to the temple.

Boat travel path


Nolli Map



200 ft

Significant Views

Wat Sam phan Ta Wong Ka Ram

River View

View of Chao Pra Ya River

Zhi Zen Gi, Chinese Temple


Context: < Historical aspect and major influences > Shops & food along the street

Wat Sam phan Ta Wong Ka Ram

Yao Wa Rat Street ( China Town ) commercial: gold, chinese goods, electronic, chinese herbal medicine, motorcycle



Wat Pa Tum kong ka ra wi harn

Boat traveling path




Noise from traffic

Noise from water traffic


Vehicular Circulation < transportation access > major circulation secondary circulation


Legend parking area parallel parking area


Access to the site < pedestrian access >

access from public transportation [ bus stop, boat ]

access from religious/open space [ Buddha temple, Chinese temple]

access from major commercial area [ street shop, small company, street venders ]

access from healthcare facility [ major hospital, clinic ]


Average slope 0.88” per 1 foot 100’

5’ setback

Electricity Line


60’ 58’ Hydrology

Site Physical Landform & Utilities: Building height limitation: 8m or 26’ Setback: 5’ Major soil in Bangkok is called Bangkok Clay soil.

56’ 54’ 52’

The existing site is an empty parking lot. The surface is generally flat. From time to time, people have to put up sandbags on the edge to prevent flooding. There are 13’ elevation change from the highest point on street level and lowest point at the river edge.

50’ No vegetation on the site.

Bangkok Clay 0’

No zoning regulation: The area is generally mixed use commercial & residential FAR: N/A

Chao Pra Ya River average depth: 42’ - 50’


Demographic Information [ The users] area: male: female: Population: population density:

1.416 kilometer 23261 person 21789 45,051 person 31,815 person / square kilometer

local business: China Town is a bustling crowded area where you can buy just about anything day or night. It was built during reign of King Rama V. 1.5 kilometer Yao Wa Rat Road renoewed as the Golden Road. Tourists usually come here to experience Chinese Cultural demonstrations and a wide range of Chinese cuisine available. The site neighborhood is located in the urban environment. Majority of population owns their own business, mostly commercial. Thailand has no regulation for business. There is no need to obtain business license to open a shop. Everybody has freedom to sell what they want. On the otherhand, there are no control for the business quality. In the area people usually have their first floor as a retail and live above it. Health Department is not as strict as in United States, anybody can have a food vender anywhere they want as long as it does not obstruct travelling path. China town is a unique part of the city. During the day, the area is a typical business district. During the night, as these commercials and offices close down, the food vender takes over. Some of the most delicious food in the country can be found here.


Yao Wa Rat at night

[ Cultural Calendar]


Winter Dec Jan



Summer Apr May



Rainy Aug Sep

Average Temperature

81-97 f (27-36 c)

77-91 f (25-33 c)

81-97 f (22-32 c)

Humidity Discomfort




Nov 15: Dec 5th: Cultural Events

Dec 31: Feb14 : Feb 28: Nov 21:

Loy Kratong Majesty Birthday celebration, Father day New Year Eve Chinese New Year Ma Ka Bu Cha Loy Kratong

April 12-15: Song Gran MAy 01: Labor day May 15: Visa Kha Bu Cha Jul 28: Vi Sa Ka Bu Cha

July 26: July 27: Aug 12: Oct 23:


Asala Bucha Buddhist Lent Day Queen birthday Mother day Enf of Buddhist Lent


Rainfall (inches) 0

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



Temperature (f)

relative humidity (%) 14
















[ Climate] Bioclimatic Chart


jan feb mar april may june july august sep oct nov dec


[ Sunpath]

20 degree N June 21 18.48

27 degree S Dec 21 17.55


20 degree N June 21 5.52

27 degree S Dec 21 6.36


70% of the time SSW wind


Research Result

New Direction

After the research, the study suggests that Bangkok should be preserved by protecting the city from the water. Through urbanization and globalization, Bangkok is more important to the world economy than the country to which it belongs. There are subway routes in Bangkok which make it unacceptable for water. Furthermore Bangkok has countless significant historical landmarks. From Site analysis, Bangkok is filled with world’s heritage temples and palaces. These identities make preservation worthwhile, even if the cost of preservation is higher than the economic product of the city. Bangkok is the heart of Thailand. If Thailand lost its capital, the entire country could not function. Bangkok is more suitable for strategies that completely block off the water such as diversion channels, heightening the dikes, widen the canals, water pump stations, and low-land management. Even if the water is rising; the wall does not need to be built all at once. The wall could be built higher as the water level rises. Anywhere the city constitutes an important part of the identity of the people, that city will be worth protecting.

Due to the limited time, I decided to pick a new flood damaged area that the government has ignored for the past 20 years. Khun Samut Chin village was a small village with a population of 420 and 168 households. Today, the number of households is down to 105. The ocean took away around 1 kilometer in length perpendicular to the ocean, an area of 11,104 rai (17,766,400 square meter) in the past 28 years. Udom Jia-sum-ran, 67 year old woman who lives with her 15 year-old grandson says, “If the ocean takes away our home again, we’ll take our grand children to live at the temple. We do not have our own land. Today we have to pay rent to the land owner in the village. We want government to help. If flooding takes away our land again, villagers will have no place to live.” She felt saddened that she was born poor and cannot do anything when she lost her home from flooding. Udom had moved 7 times throughout her life, most during the Linda Storm during which she had to move 3 times. Dr. Tom-ma-wat, an expert who’s responsible for erosion management in Thailand said that “There are many things that contribute to the land loss problem: ocean wind, loss of sediment in the river, over abstraction of underground water, global warming, rising sea level, and uncoordinated development along the gulf of Thailand.” Khun Samut Chin is a small underdeveloped village. There are no roads or automobiles. The only way to access the area is through taxi boats. There are not enough economic generators to generate income; therefore, the government has decided to ignore it. Even though the Villagers have lost their homes, their religious beliefs have lead them to build wave-defense walls for Wat Khun Samut Chin, of which land was donated from people in the village.


Thesis Statement A master plan of landscaping and floating structures could provide the community of Khun Samut Chin, Samut Prakarn a shelter that could be adapt to the flooding and landloss along the mouth of Chao Pra Ya River.

Typology: 1. Large floating temporary flood-relieve structure connecting to Khun Samut Chin Temple. Any public gathering space in Buddha temple is only used 10% of the time. The other 90% remain unused. This proposal is not only expand the temple, but give people temporary shelter when they lost their home. 2. Floating Home prototype for all the villagers. 3. A Landscape master plan that slow down the process of erosion during rainy season and shrimp farming during dry season.



Samut Sakorn



< Khun Samut Chin once was a home for hundreds of families. Now itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suffering from rising sea level, land sinking, and erosion.


< Site plan

Shrimp Farming Agricultural land









The Rim  

Urban flood protection

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