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Collective Floating Community Pisuttisuk Kittipongdaja


HEXEL: Collective Floating Community Present to Faculty of New School of Architecture and Design By Pisuttisuk Kittipongdaja

___________________________________________________________________________________ Vuslat Demircay date Architecture Graduate Program Chair

___________________________________________________________________________________ Leslie Ryan date Advisor


Acknowledgements A special thanks to... To my parents for love and support, despite my absence in your lives For all those who support me in critical times To my brother for an awesome camera, understanding my decision for to go back to school, and taking care of our family To my roommate Cedric for proof reading and helping me in times of need To my fellow students for teaching, competing, inspiring, criticizing, laughing, and crying. I would have not been here without any of you. Thanks for all the good time. To my thesis advisor, Leslie Ryan, who always supported and helped my develop thesis. Thank you for being patient with my English.



Table of Contents

Abstract 06 Chapter 1 _Background Problem


Chapter 2_ Design Response 18 Thesis Statement 19 Rationale 20 Theoretical Framework 21 Chapter 3_Precedent 22 Amphibious Floating Home 24 Citadel Floating Apartment Complex 28 The FLOAT House 36 Chapter 4_Site Analysis 44 Chapter 5_Design Process 50 Mangrove Regeneration 60 Master plan 62 Phase_01 Single 64 Phase_02 Couple 68 Phase_03 Family 73 Conclusion 78 List of Figure 80 Citation


//Abstract & Problem

Today scientists predict that the ocean level will rise to eventually reduce amount of land humans can habit. On the other hand, human population continues to grow. Cities continuously develop with limited land. Thailand is a lowlying country 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. Climate change, expected to bring rising sea level and more intense rain storms around the world, threatens to overwhelm Thailand’s flood defenses. According to Scientist projection, Bahn Khun Samut Jeen would disappear from the map by 2030. Shrimp Farming is one of the biggest economic generators for Bahn Khun Samut Jeen and nearby villages. Flooding is their way of life because flooding bring in Shrimp larvae that could be cultivated. Blocking off the water would lead to destruction of local


economy. Mangrove restoration must be proceeds while allowing the water to flow thru shrimp farms. Inland Mangrove Infiltration allows water to reach farms further away from the coastline while protecting the land from erosion. The purpose of the study is to explore how the coastal city could adapt with the threat of sea levels from increased flooding through a proposal for mobile floating structure.


Chapter 1: Background Problem


“ If the ocean take 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 take away our land again, villagers will have no place to live.” Udom Jia-sum-ran, 67 years


Background Problem

In order to understand Bahn Khun Samut Jeen,we must understand how it came to be what it is today. Bahn Samut Jeen is situated on the coast on a predominantly flat terrain of the lower Chao Phraya river delta. The Chao Phraya Delta is one of the largest deltas in Southeast Asia. It forms the lower portion of the Chao Phraya River Basin that is approximately 40,000 Tributary streams such as the Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan Rivers drain highland areas in the mid and upper Chao Phraya Basin, and these areas represent the source of sand, silt, and clay sediments that have been deposited in thick sequences within the delta. Slope gradients can be as low as 1: 10,000 and areas up to 150 kilometers inland of the gulf of Thailand can be less than 20 meters above sea level. The delta is dominated by poorly drained sandyclay soils of high to moderate fertility.


Chao Phraya Delta climate is influenced by the south oceanic wind and North continental wind. Temperature and humidity are high and relatively consistent throughout the year but the monsoon produces distinct wet and dry seasons. The “wet season� typically occurs between May and October in association with the oceanic influence of the southwest monsoon. Many areas of Thailand receive over 1500 mm of precipitation during this period which can represent over 75% of the total annual rainfall. The development of an intense high pressure system each winter in continental Asia initiates the dry season in November. Temperatures are cooler during November and December, but increase steadily until April which is the hottest month of the year.

Thailand possesses over 2700 kilometers of coastline and a tropical climate that is ideal for black tiger shrimp. Shrimp farming was likely introduced to the lower Chao Phraya Delta by Chinese immigrants during the 1930s. These early natural farms used traditional techniques which involved flooding low-lying coastal paddy fields and capturing wild shrimp contained within the sea water. Enclosures were large (30 hectares or more) and a limited amount of daily water exchange was provided by natural tidal flows. Traditional techniques were inherently a polyculture because flood waters provide the entire supply of shrimp seed. The aquaculturalist exerted no control over species composition. Tidal flows also provided naturally occurring food organisms to sustain captured shrimp during the culture period. Traditional shrimp farming techniques required no special technical skills or

Infrastructure, and input costs were minimal due to the use of naturally occurring seed stock and food. Yields were low (approximately 200 kg/ha/year) due to an absence of stocking control and poor survival rates. Species impounded by this techniques include banana shrimp, Indian white shrimp, school shrimps, and a small number of black tiger shrimp. Extensive farming techniques represented the first modest intensification of aquaculture practices during the pre-extension phase. Shallow ponds were constructed within coastal mud flats and many salt farms were converted to shrimp production after World War II. This shift was motivated by depresses salt prices, and by the late 1960s, more than 50% of all salt farms in the lower Chao Phraya Delta were converted to shrimp production. Pond enclosures are still large in extensive systems (5 hectares

or more) but yields can increase to almost 400 kg/ha/year by exercising limited control over fry stocking, improving water management, and applying manure or chemical fertilizers to include algae blooms.


4,000 3,500 3,000 Km2

2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 1961








Changes of Mangrove area in Thailand (23 provinces), 1961-2004

Annual income ( USD/ha. )

Source: Geo-Informatics National Park Wildlife and Plant Conservation

7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0




Thailand Annual Worth Comparison per area (2003) *Worth of mangrove include off-shore fisheries, direct and indirect use, and coastline protections (Suthawan, 2001)


Although extensive techniques still provide low yields, these operations are not necessarily uneconomic if land and labor costs are modest. The large healthy shrimp produced in this system fetch high prices and this can compensate for low yields. Profits can be further enhanced by marketing these shrimp in a fresh state to specialty markets. Environmental damage associated with traditional and extensive shrimp farming systems is generally limited as a result of low production levels, but a large amount of intra-tidal coastal land is required for pond enclosures and this can impact coastal habitats such as mangrove. Even if today’s shrimp farming techniques have advanced, Bahn Khun Samut Jeen village still continues using method of extensive shrimp farming. Mangrove forests represent an important component of Thailand’s costal ecosystem, even though a large

amount of clearing has taken place since the 1960s. Mangrove ecosystems can uniquely adapted to seasonal change in water quality conditions. Mangroves are extremely productive and serve a wide range of functions including: protecting coastal areas from wave and storminduced erosion, filtering coastal run off, supplying nutrients, and providing critical habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. Many coastal communities in Thailand still depend on mangroves for firewood, charcoal and construction materials. The loss of mangrove greatly impacts these social groups. The total area of mangrove forest within Thailand fell by approximately 50% between the year 1960 and 1989. Aquaculture development played a significant role in this decline as many mangrove areas were directly converted into shrimp farms, degraded by shrimp farm effluent, or affected by

aquaculture-related changes to coastal hydrology. It appears that Samut Prakarn and Bangkok provinces were almost entirely devoid of mangrove by the early 1960s as a result of land conversion for salt farms, fish ponds, charcoal production, agriculture, port expansion and urban development. Mangroves posses several characteristics that are beneficial to shrimp farming such as brackish water and subdued terrain. The government of Thailand has also sponsored mangrove replanting in areas surrounding Seawater Irrigation Projects and similar rehabilitation projects have been initiated in parts of the lower Chao Phraya Delta. The scale of this implementation is relatively small; however, existing and future reclamation efforts may prevent future losses of coastal mangrove forests of Thailand. A rise in sea levels has occurred

globally; and a continuous rise in the level of the sea is one of the most certain impacts of global warming. In Thailand, the impacts of coastal erosion, together with sea levels rising are expected to be significant. According to Chalalongkorn University study, 2-11% of the coastline areas along the gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea respectively are eroding at a rate of more than 5 meters a year. This equates to 2 square kilometers of coastal real estate, valued at $156 million (USD) each year. Coastal erosion causes not only a loss of land, but also roads, electricity systems, land devoted to aquaculture, and farmland. Thanawat (2006) finds that 30 coastline areas in Thailand have been prioritized as being the most severely eroded coastal areas in the country, named “hot-spot� areas. Bahn Khun Samut Jeen village. By 2050 Bahn Khun Samut Jeen may completely disappear from Thailand’s map.


The scientists have studied coastal lines from satellite images. The map to the left shows rapid erosion process from 1950 to3 2010. The erosion occurs at a much faster pace where there is no mangrove. Evidently in 2010 the coastline stop where the mangrove is located. Once villagers lose their homes, they start to form community as they live in cluster. Majority of the villagers have to rent lands from other people to continue farming. For the villagers, flooding is their way of life because they rely on yearly flood to bring in shrimp larvae and impound them. Shrimp farmers later raise the shrimp and sell them at bigger sizes. In the past villagers had to protest government from constructing sandbags seawall. These seawall would stop the flow of water from bringing in the shrimp larvae which is their source of income. The real problem is how can we preserve the land from erosion while allowing water to enter thru the shrimp farms; so that 4 the villagers can preserve their way of living.







Existing Condition 14

Shrimp Farm




Shore Line

Causes of Land Erosion Causes can be divided into 2 category: natural and man-made Natural • The location of Bahn Khun Samut Jeen 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 in 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. However, after urbanization occurred, the city tried to separate itself from the river and changed 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.

Local heavy rainfall is usually the main cause of inland floods, since 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 the 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 cities. The highest tides occur in November and December which can inundate some areas at the river’s peak flow.

Man made Deforestation has reduced the lag time between tide and soil run-off. Tree roots greatly reduce the speed of water from taking away land soil. Without mangrove, the rapid run-off increases erosion of soil surface particles, resulting in sedimentation of the water. Shrimp Farming destroy large area of mangrove in Thailand’s coastal area. Uncoordinated development of urban areas changed land topography and the flow of water. In urban areas, the majority of 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 into the drainage system. This is opposite from the rural areas, where vegetation and soil retain and absorb water. Building 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 systems. Destruction of flood embankments is a serious issue in flood protection in Thailand. People who live outside of flood protection zones 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.11


• Over abstracting of ground water is one of the main causes for land subsidence. Some people refer to this phenomenon as “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 that 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 increases, the polar ices start to melt, resulting in the rising of sea levels. All these changes are projected to cause a sea level rise of 31-110 cm per century on a global scale (Vongvisessomjai 2010). Rain seasons are lasting 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 likelihood of the water draining from coastal building developments.

$$$ Shrimp Farming

Severe Flooding


Sea Water Rising Increase of Eroding Energy Lack of Sediments


Uncoordinated Development Influence of Tides Heavy rainfall

Relationship between shrimp farming and land loss


Chapter 2: Design Response


Thesis Statement: “A Collective Floating Community development can provide Bahn Khun Samut Jeen a precedent of how to sustainably adapt and live with coastal erosion along the coast line of Thailand.�



Rather than fighting with water, this research attempt to find a way to live in harmony with water. Global Warming is inevitable. Society continues 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 Earth’s surface and will cause Sea levels to rise. Smith Dharmasaroja, head of Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center claims that the water rises by 2.5 feet every 10 years. In the worst case scenario, 30% of Thailand could be under water by 2034.21 For more than decades, Bahn Khun Samut Jeen villagers lived with flooding. Flood brought diseases, damages, traffic jams, and takes away lives. Every year sea water continues to erode the coastal soil. Architecture is the evolution of the


built environment. Similar to living things, the ones capable of adapting survive. This thesis investigates how architecture could improve and provide a safer environment for people who live in flooding areas. This development is not a disaster relief; but a new typology that takes advantage of the changing world. This development could be an example to all and can open doors in evolving design strategies to combat rising sea levels. Each year flooding has displaced thousands of people’s home and kills hundreds of people throughout the country. Humans have great impact in altering the natural flow of water. The concept of a floating structure is a means to reconnect Thai lifestyle back to the water. This research could be a beginning for a bigger urbanism as climate change starts to overtake coastal cities.

Theoretical Framework

Flotation Technology


Tropical Climate Construction

Flotation Technology A floating foundation is what makes structure float. Some people believe that it is the new method of construction for sea level rising. It is also a way to connect people to the water. This research aims to explore potentials of floating foundations. Some people like the rise and fall of the water; but most people feel uncomfortable living on it. A floating structure does not necessarily have to be on water, but could be used for the building in flood zone. Tropical Climate Construction Thailand has a very unique climate. By understanding the traditional and local construction technology, we can understand building’s limitations, passive heating and cooling strategies, available materials, cultures, etc. It also informs how people have lived with the tropical climate in the past. Modulation Floating structures provide great design opportunity for mobility and adaptation. Floating structures is extremely easy to move since structures are not fixed to the ground. These units should be design as modulation. This allow users to rearrange units according to their needs. These arrangement can be used from single family size to community size.


Chapter 3: Precedent


“ If the natural habitat is not suitable for living in, you make it suitable.�

Koen Olthius


01_case study

Amphibious Floating Homes [ Factor Architen ] Maasbommel River // Netherlands Brief Description: year : 2006 size : 5000 sf. [ 26 units ] basic organization : linear organization on the edge of maasbommel river client : Duravermeer developer special features : houses on floating foundation Physical context : 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 located 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 24

community gate

2 parking spots for 1 residence unit

parking spots

car and bicycle road one way south > north pole: block off car

bicycle sign

community gate :exit gate car and bicycle road

public road public road Figure 1.2

^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 residence’s cars and the public bicycles share the same road. The residence’s vehicle access is one way street, south to north. 25

Figure 1.5

Figure 1.6 : As the house moving up and down, the Mooring post is what holds them in place. 26

Figure 1.7

site organization






cooling strategy


> analysis < The amphibious 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 styrofoam 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.


02_case study

Citadel Floating Apartment Complex [ Water Studio ] 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 flotation system, parking strategy, and units layout for the apartment complex.

Figure 2.1 28

^ Figure 2.3 Depolderising Development 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 apartment complex on water. 8

Figure 2.2 29

< 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 categorize 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 31


b section a

section b

Figure 2.10


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. 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. 16

Figure 2.11



apartment parking

apartment apartment parking

Figure 2.12

[ 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%


site organization access geometry views

dry flood sustainable strategies


> 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.


03_case study

The FLOAT House [ Morphosis Architects ]

Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans // USA Brief Description:

Year : July 2009 size : 1,000 sf. basic organization : rectilinear client : Make It Right Foundation special features : single residence on floating foundation located in New Orleans award : Leed Platinum physical context : The house is built after Hurricane Katrina. Strategy -Floating foundation on land Relevance This is an example of how the flotation 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 styrofoam and concrete. The thesis project could utilize this flotation 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. 1 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 the early return of occupants in the aftermath of a hurricane flood.


^ 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


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. 41

Chapter 4: Site Analysis

//Flooding From case studies, there are 3 types of floating foundation. 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. //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 the Citadel, the structure is arranged â&#x20AC;&#x153;Uâ&#x20AC;? 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.




The site is located in Bahn Khun Sa Mud Jeen, next to Chao Phraya Riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Delta. Chao Phraya 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 Bahn Khun Samut Jeen, the Canal is a major transportation artery for a vast network of cross-river ferries and water taxis, also known as longtails. 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 mid-March, 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

Bioclimatic Chart


jan feb mar april may june


july august sep oct nov dec 45

[ 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




Cultural Events


Nov 15: Loy Kratong Dec 5th: Majesty Birthday celebration, Father day Dec 31: New Year Eve Feb14 : Chinese New Year Feb 28: Ma Ka Bu Cha Nov 21: 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: Asala Bucha July 27: Buddhist Lent Day Aug 12: Queen birthday Mother day Oct 23: Enf of Buddhist Lent day

Rainfall (inches) 0


Temperature (f)

relative humidity (%) 14
















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


Vernacular Architecture Study






Public Semi Private Private

The traditional Thai home is characterized by elevated building on stilts to a height above person’s head. The area beneath the house is usually used for storage, crafts, lounging, or even livestock. The traditional Thai House is raised as a result of heavy flooding, and in ancient times protection from predators. Thai houses are made from a variety of woods and often built as prefabricated interlock wooden panels. The structure is constructed without nails or steel. Most homes start out as a single family home; and, when a daughter get married, an additional house is built on the site to accommodate her new family. A traditional house is usually built as a cluster around a terrace. The terrace is the largest single component as it makes up to 40% of the area. If a veranda is included, the terrace could cover up to 60%. A part of the terrace is left open for a tree to grow to provide welcoming shade. The tree chosen is often flowering or scented. The varying height of the floors are also used to separate space from one room to another, providing a wide variety of positions for sitting or lounging around the living areas.


Chapter 5: Design Process


â&#x20AC;&#x153; The ultimate form of flexibility is floating buildings. By uncoupling the permanent connection between building and location, the building becomes a product that can be used during its lifetime by different owners at different locations The possibility of relocation means that a site can be used for different purposes in the course of time.â&#x20AC;? Koen Olthius



Concept Sketch #1 This master plan design proposes floating community to replace existing village. Floating homes rise up and down as water level fluctuate. These units are hold down by the guiding posts which keep them from floating away. All units connect to one large social core space. After intensive study, the analysis has shown that these floating homes have not taken full advantage of its mobility. Each of these units can be towed easily by small size boat. The ability to rearrange unit gives flexibility to the users to determine their living environment. The second discovery is its location. Instead of replacing the existing village, floating community should be located next to the existing village. The person who lost their homes can slowly move to the floating community.



Concept Sketch #2 The second design takes connection and modularity into consideration. Instead of using rectangle shape, hexagon provides stronger bond structurally and better sense of community. Two units connection between rectangle and hexagon may not be much different. Until there are more than 3 units, rectangles can only give 2 ways connection; but hexagons give 3 ways connection. At a smaller scale, these floating homes operate as co-housing. The smallest unit contains 4 cells including 2 bedrooms, living rooms, and outdoor veranda. As unit get bigger, bedroom are added. These hexagonal floating structures operate like cells that can be adapt, attach, reattach according to the userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s need - Hexel. After study, the analysis shows that these floating homes are too large. To take these idea further â&#x20AC;&#x201C; How can these units be smaller and be more efficient?



Concept Sketch #3 After the process of refinement, Hexel now utilize Space Saving Furniture. These furniture reduce area of the floating homes by 75%. Instead of 4 hexagonal cells, now one unit can operate with only one hexagonal cell. More details can be found in architectural development section. At a master plan scale, units around social core arrange in linear organization for access and efficiency. Boat can tow homes as needed. Residential units have an opportunity to form their own island around the social core, and may connect or not connect to the social core. These residential island can be arrange in anyway the users desire.


Thought Process Summary

1. “Be friends with water”, Instead of defending structure from water, built environment can be built to float on water.

2. In order to take advantage of floating home ‘s mobility, this module need to be small enough to travel thru canal.

3. For stability and sense of community, these modules need to be able to connect together. Instead of rectangular shape, hexagons provide stronger bond for connections.

4. The result is floating homes on hexagonal cells that are able to adapt, attach, re-attach according to the user’s need.



Mangrove Regeneration


Mangrove is one of the key factors in slowing down the erosion process. Without any intervention, Bahn Khun Samut Jeen could completely disappear from the map. Each year hundreds of people volunteer to grow mangrove at Bahn Khun Samut Jeen. These events have restored significant amount of mangrove around the coast lines. Furthermore, mangrove are an important habitat providing food, shelter, and nursery areas for fish, birds, shrimp, crabs, and other marine lives. These mangrove regeneration need to be organized in order to effectively control the erosion. The map to the right propose vertical stripe of mangrove to slow down the process of erosion while allowing shrimp farming to continue and retreat as the erosion occurs. 6






Existing Condition 60

Shrimp Farm




Shore Line

As mention earlier, the floating community is located next to the existing village. The social core will be held by guiding posts and remains here. The residents have freedom to move their homes as needed around the canals. The floating community will be protected from the ocean wave by mangrove in the south area. The floating community complex may move and retreat as the tides become more powerful .





1973 1960

land use Strategy 2012-2030 Shrimp Farm




Shore Line



Master plan

01 02 03 04

Existing Village Social Core + Floating Market Floating Home Community: Island type Floating Home Community: Social Core type



03 04


02 04 03





Phase_01 Single

User: Occupant: Status: Age: Earning:

Mr. Dang Fisherman Single 25 Low Income

Unit Square Footage Interior space: 131 sf Exterior Space: 63 sf Total 194 sf (each cell is 700 sf)

The following floating homes design in scenario for Mr. Dang the single shrimp farmer. As Mr. Dang lost his home to the ocean, he now invested himself with a mobile floating home. All Mr. Dang need is a small studio unit and a large multi-purposes outdoor space. This unit is design specifically for single person. The space saving furniture include collapsible bed, seats, and working table. The shower and water closet is hidden 2â&#x20AC;&#x2122;-6â&#x20AC;? underneath the floor. This unit include large rolling door that can be move to transform interior space into an open public space or a closed private space. The kitchen is located outside for cooking ventilation. Multipurpose outdoor space may be used as front yard or working space for fishing business. Instead of relying only in window, the floating home utilize clerestory window to ventilate the humidity. The clerestory windows are offset inside to protect themselves from harsh tropical rain.





Public Semi Private Private

Public-Private Relationship


Work Relax

Water Closet




Phase_02 Couple

Mr. Dang + Janet Occupant: Fisherman + Teacher Status: Couple Earning: Medium Income Interior space: 200 sf Exterior Space: 173 sf Total

373 sf

Phase 2, Now Mr. Dang have married with Janet. Janet is a teacher teaching at Bahn Khun Samut Jeen School. This floating structure has expanded for a couple lifestyles. The existing bathroom is no longer hidden underground but got walled off to create privacy. The existing porch/kitchen becomes part of the bedroom. The kitchen got replaced with a bigger one. Space saving furniture still operate in similar manner. The unit turn sideway to locate a new entrance.





Public Semi Private Private

Public Private Relationship








Phase_03 Family

Mr. Dang + Janet + Keng Occupant: Fisherman+Teacher+Student Status: 3 person family Earning: Hi-medium Income Interior space: 366 sf Exterior Space: 436 sf Total

802 sf

Phase 3 – As Mr. Dang and Janet earn more income, the couple are readied to have children. The “couple unit” is combined with a “single unit” plus another “public unit”. The “public unit” includes functions such as living room, bathroom, working space, dining room, and entry porch. The 3 hexagonal cells now operate like traditional Thai Architecture. The parents have a unit of their own separate from their child. The “public unit” faces different direction from the other private unit to signify the entrance. The space in between becomes courtyard for the family to enjoy. Once the Keng grow up and ready to live on his own, He can separate “single unit” and move to different location.





Set up








After the final review, I came to several conclusions that can make “HEXEL”Collective Floating Community” a stronger project. One of the valid comments were “how can these hexagonal shape operate at a city scale?” Even though the site that I selected was a small village, hexagon cells worth exploring at a city scale. Lastly there were debates whether rectangular mass on top of hexagon is appropriate design decision. I felt that the negotiation of space between two geometries was the strength of this project. In order to be creative, designer must not be afraid of taking risks. I felt that “Phase 3 family unit” courtyard space was resolved well between the 3 units. If I were to have more time, housing concepts could be explored further in details such as co-housing, row house, or even floating tower homes.



List of Figure


Figure 1.1 House, Home

“Floating Homes by Factor Architecten in Maasbommel, Netherlands - Modern, Contemporary, Interior,

Figure 1.2-1.4

“Google Maps.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Figure 1.5 – 1.7 House, Home

“Floating Homes by Factor Architecten in Maasbommel, Netherlands - Modern, Contemporary, Interior,

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 3.1-3.2

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

Figure 3.3 2010.

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

Figure 3.4 – 3.6

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

Design on Home Design Home.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

Design on Home Design Home.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

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.



1. “Architect Thom Mayne, UCLA Students Create Floating House for New Orleans Residents / UCLA Newsroom.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010. 2.

Brown, G. Sun, Wind & Light : Architectural Design Strategies. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley, 2001.


“Coastal Erosion in the Gulf Ofthailand.pdf.” Web. 1 Feb. 2012.

4. “Development and Government Policies of the Shrimp Farming Industry in Thailand in Relation to Mangrove Ecosystems.” n. pag. Print. 5.

“EBSCOhost: A Nutrient Budget of Some Intensive Marine Shrimp Ponds in Thailand.” Web. 1 Feb. 2012.




“EBSCOhost: Pilot Study on the Erosion and Rehabilitation of a Mangrove Mud Coast.” Web. 1 Feb. 2012.


Float! Building on Water to Combat Urban Congestion and Climate Change. Frame Pub, 2010. Print.


“FLOAT_HOUSE.pdf.” Web. 5 Feb. 2012.

10. “Floating Homes by Factor Architecten in Maasbommel, Netherlands - Modern, Contemporary, Interior, House, Home Design on Home Design Home.” Web. 29 Oct. 2010. 11. “Flood Management in Chao Phraya River Basin - Powered by Google Docs.” Web. 3 Dec. 2010.


12. “Habitat-fishery Linkages and Mangrove Loss in Thailand.” Web. 26 Jan. 2012. 13. Hungspreug, Siripong, Wirat Khao-uppatum, and Thanopanuwat Suwit. “Flood Management in Chao Phraya River Basin Powered by Google Docs.” Web. 3 Dec. 2010. 14. Lohrer, Axel. Designing with Water. Basel ;;Boston: Birkhäuser, 2008. Print. 15. “Morphosis Floats a New Idea in New Orleans.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010. 16. Olthuis, Koen, and David Keuning. Float! : building on water to combat urban congestion and climate change. Amsterdam; Minneapolis: Frame ; trade distribution USA and Canada, Consortium, 2010. Print. 17. Paz, Elfren. “Flooding and Climatic Changes: The Greatest Threats in the History of the World.” Web. 3 Dec. 2010. 18. “Press Release : Morphosis FLOAT House Completed for Make It Right Foundation : Media : Make It Right.” Web. 5 Feb. 2012. 19. Ryan, Zoe. Building with water : concepts, typology, design. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2010. Print. 20. Stam, Ankie. “Waterstudio.NL - News.” Web. 27 Oct. 2010. 21. “Thai Official: Bangkok Will Be Underwater in 20 Years - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News” Web. 7 Dec. 2010.


22. Thaitakoo, Danai, Brian McGrath. “Changing Landscape, Changing Climate: Bangkok and the Chao Phraya Delta.” n. pag. Print. 23. “Thom Mayne Floats An Idea for New Orleans - 2009-10-12 04:00:00 | Interior Design.” Web. 30 Oct. 2010. 24. Uehara, Katsuto et al. “Erosion and Accretion Processes in a Muddy Dissipative Coast, the Chao Phraya River Delta, Thailand.” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 35.14 (2010): 1701–1711.



Thesis final