Project 2 : 'Sociopetal living space' by Poon Kulvanich

'A sociopetal living space'
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In the past the expansion of habitat often associates with increasing family members, the wide space for internal gathering between different generations of cousins or siblings on the regular basis is a necessary feature of traditional Thai houses. Today because of the economical centralization in the capital, Bangkok, big families, especially in provinces further away from the center, have been broken down into small units. As population flows towards Bangkok for career opportunity, a 'house' to a single family in the city then becomes smaller in dimensions than the past, and with this situation, there is less room for each individual, which forces more frequent encounters between one another. 

But ironically, the smaller space has increases separation of each member, as one tends to push themselves into their private space, or spend time social networking on a device rather than interacting with his/her roommates. This raises the topic of psychological distance in proximity, which implies to the question of:
Why does spatial compression influences inhabitants to isolate themselves from one another?
And can we recreate qualities that will encourage more interactions in a compact space?

As an issue to concern in the future :  If the condominium living lifestyle continues to takeover Bangkok, the people will lose the sense of community completely, and rather treated the living space as a zone for isolation. As a result the population would lack the sense of belonging and togetherness, and any development in the society will not increasingly difficult. 

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The inhabitants are the case of a family which rarely interact with each other due to mismatching career schedule, which in this case are the pilot father and the older daughter working as and outbound tour organizer, and their personal interests that encourage isolation, such as media addiction (TV and Computer games) and social networking.

Example pages from the inhabitant report

These inhabitants are designed to be the example of today’s increasing family structure, where the children are young adults or teenagers, who prone to isolate themselves from other family member.

Here the analysis look for the the possible overlapping of space usage, looking into the common interest and individual interest to define the programs that could be rearrange to increase the interaction between members.

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The spatial organization bases on the idea of a 'Sociopetal' public space, which implies to large gathering space like squares and parks that use radial plan and intentionally crosses the circulation path of the people. This result in a more interactive space, the opposite of  a 'Sociofugal' space: a term used for spaces with grid-base organization and linear circulation, separating people from interacting, which could actually be found in today's condominium structure.

Overall interior arrangement

Using the structural element from Phase1, the overall plan layout is based on the two beams applied to the unit, with curvature based on the end of each beam span. To location of interior partition also concern the connectivity to the beam structure as well as program organization.

A diagram showing the method in creating a space with versatile performance

 From the analysis of the inhabitant, the communal space is designed to host multiple programs at once, compromising the isolating quality of some activity like working and using computer by bringing them in between circulating area as well as facing the relaxing space. The unit also preserve certain necessity for privacy such as bathroom and sleeping space, but its total floor space used would be reduce to its minimum requirement in order to dominate the communal area.

A diagram showing how the program arrangement influences the inhabitant to cross over each other

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The proposed site is the 22nd July round about, or Wongwian 22 in Thai. This location in itself has a small public park at the center and the existing building are organized with radial plan, which match the concept of a Sociopetal space. 

Yet because of the disconnecting aspect of the central island, being separated by 4 lanes road without any crossing, as well as the commercial environment of the surrounded building (being all shops for auto parts), the area become very dull with low interaction between people, and the garden is instead occupied by the homeless. It is a space with many potential to become an interactive community but has not been organized to do so. Therefore, converting the area into a public housing zone to profit from the central garden would be the interesting aspect of working on this site.