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Architectural Solutions to Flooding

Kotchakorn Voraakhom's Talk on Flooding Focuses on Bangkok

— January 29, 2019 — Keynote Trends
In her talk on flooding, urban landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom details how implementing a greener infrastructure to concrete spaces can serve as a way to manage disastrous impacts caused by climate change.

The speaker uses her native Bankok as an example and offers details of her recently completed project -- Chulalongkorn Centenary Park. First, she lays the problem down. Major delta cities, including New York. London, Shanghai and more, are sinking. Bankok is going under by one centimeter every year which would entail that the metropolis will be below sea level in 2030.

Historically, Thai people were "amphibious" (i.e. embraced living on land and on water). However, with rapid urbanization and the increase of concrete surfaces, excessive flooding entails disaster today. This becomes evident in 2011 with "Thailand's devastating and most damaging flood in history." Kotchakorn Voraakhom takes this event as proof that modern infrastructures are not capable of handling rapid climate change consequences. During her talk on flooding, the urban landscape architects offer a viable solution and it is realized through "connecting concrete lands back to nature."

The Chulalongkorn Centenary Park is intended to address this issue. The project presents "the first new public park [in Bangkok] in almost 30 years." Shocking as that may sound, the architectural layout and functional systems of the park are extremely clever.

Kotchakorn Voraakhom's landscape initiative does not only provide an aesthetic quality to the urban city and a place for people to converge and exercise. It also gives Bangkok a dynamic solution that addresses the city's flooding problem. Certain infrastructures have been put in place at the Chulalongkorn Centenary Park that aid in the sustainable confrontation of climate change. The entire space is inclined to collect rain -- this includes a green roof that distributes rain, wetlands with native water plants that can filter the water, and a pond that collects any excess liquid. The system promotes the cyclicality of the resource.