Situated in front of the Grand Postal Building during Bangkok Design Week 2020, Safezone Shelter is an ephemeral intervention, aiming to purify air and provide comfort for people, while also raising awareness about “air pollution,” which becomes a critical concern for many societies.
Looking at Bangkok, according to the World Air Quality Index of 2019, it has 54% of total days in a year in which particulate matter (PM) was measured over WHO’s standard level, threatening over one-third of inhabitants. The city has also constantly been facing “Urban Heat Island Effect” from a large amount of hardscape and skyscrapers with inadequate green space. Nonetheless, as Bangkok was selected by UNESCO Creative Cities Network as “Creative City of Design,” it’s a good opportunity to create an experimental space in order to achieve a better city and United Nations (UN)’s Sustainable Development Goal No.11.
Inspired by “cloud,” the pavilion was designed in a futuristic organic form, depicting a clean refreshing atmosphere, while also forming a pleasant Microclimate by equipping vegetation and engineering technology together.
Air quality is a factor needed to be carefully controlled to keep good air inside. First, hot dirty air is pulled inside by a fan, passes through rows of trees and shrubs which capture dusty particles, as well as ground-covering plants which absorb toxic substances. After that, the pre-filtered wind will flow through the dust filter plate and the cooling plate consequently, and come out as a purified breeze at the end.
As providing comfort is also another important circumstance, various techniques are adopted to keep the shelter’s interior temperature at around 22-29 degree Celsius, suitable for Thailand’s tropical climate. They include using fans to release heat and create air flow, wrapping Nylon clothes around the structure to get an interior light with diffused blurry effect – friendly for our eyes, and operating the humidifier to maintain 50-70% humidity level. In addition, natural scents from plants, and experimental music – made up of nature-like sounds (breeze, water, birds) is employed to provide a soothing experience while walking inside the pavilion.
All of these inventive methods could further be applied to solve air pollution in other kinds of design. At an individual level, a personal mobile suit equipped with a portable air filter could be manufactured, allowing users to move around refreshed. Looking wider at an urban scale, bus stops, recreational space under expressways and skywalks also have a potential to be revitalized with such purification systems. At the end, even high-rise buildings might become old-fashioned when a better choice like an air purifier tower could be constructed.
In conclusion, Safezone Shelter might be seen as a starting point on gaining such benefits from natural species and technological advancement, in order to revitalize Bangkok into a sustainable city that every inhabitant can take a deep breath.
Name of the project: Safezone Shelter
Project category: Infrastructure
Design year: 2019-2020
Year Built: 2020