Project 2.1 The Individual Habitat: "Reinforcing Bangkok's Gastronomic Identity: A Living Unit for Street Food Vendors", by Jane Chongsuwat

The home fosters the soul of its inhabitants. Thus, the public housing in Bangkok should exist to improve the living standards of the working faction by understanding their significance in society, corresponding to the needs of their profession, and aiming to produce, as Henri Lefebvre wrote in his book The Production of Space, “spaces full of meaning, spaces that escape mortality: enduring, radiant, yet also inhabited by a specific local temporality”. 

Since the major course of transportation shifted from water to land in the Early Bangkok period, street food vending have been an important element in shaping the economic, social, and cultural sectors of Bangkok City. From saving the lives of laid-off workers who turned to street vending for a living during the ‘Tom Yum Goong’ economic crisis in 1997,  to defining the food culture of Bangkok as manifested in their ubiquitous existence which complies to the demand and supply of street food in Bangkok. Through the years cooking has transformed from a household activity into an activity involving division of labour and one that is market-oriented. Cooking has become an activity performed in the public sphere. 

Evidently, the culture of street food vending reinforces a distinctive identity of Bangkok that should be embraced, cherished, and sustained. However, in the post-industrial society, newer generations tend to drift away from this humble line of work due to factors such as low income and substandard quality of life. Therefore this should be improved, starting from the quintessence of a quality life— the home. 

A living unit for street food vendors.
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Starting by integrating the prime object of their trade, the cart, into the domestic realm, to foster a sentimental relationship between the vendor and his cart. The cart will then no longer be merely an extension—an object of possession—in his profession, but will host a spiritual essence that dwells within the conscious of local vendors. The cart will become the center and the generator of life in the domestic space. Their lives in the living unit will revolve around or with the cart. This intensified connection between the vendor and his cart shall establish a sense of pride in his metier and turn the cart into a cherished possession.

The use of ramps and stairs define the boundaries of spaces inhibited by the cart and the domestic functions, respectively. By integrating the ramp into the living unit, the cart becomes part of the domestic life; all activities in the unit demands for the cart. The integration of the steel trusses for storage spaces as well as furnitures are complement the modularity of the vending cart itself. From the analysis of the cart, it is evident that these street vending carts are composed of a basic steel frame, while accessories are added according to the products sold.


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A collection of these living units for street vendors will generate more than a collective habitat, but a self-sustained community with hybrid spaces that function domestically and commercially, perhaps forming food markets within their homes.  


Different accessories of the cart are added to the basic steel frame according to the products that are sold.
link to full resolution pdf
link to full resolution pdf

The site for the cart is an empty parking lot on Rama IX road, within reach of the Klongteoy Market, as well as the Klongteoy slum community. The site is chosen in order to facilitate the community around the Klongteoy area, to generate gastronomic vibrancy to the area, as well as establishing career opportunities for the population of the Klongteoy Slum. 
link to full resolution pdf