Landscape Architect: TROP Co.Ltd (TROP: terrains + open space) Project Director: Pok Kobkongsanti Project Designer: Tour Kittirojana Architect: Tierra Design Thailand Interior Designer: August Design Photographer: Pirak Anurakyawachon
Few years ago, we got a commission to design the landscape for a hotel, in one of Bangkok’s busiest neighborhoods. The site was compact, with abandoned townhomes. These structures must be kept and transformed into hotel rooms, with windows facing drop-off area. The lobby and restaurant were added in between structures, making the site even more crowded.
Luckily, there is one existing tree right in front of the property’s wall. The tree is Ficus Benjamina Linn., with beautiful branches and a lot of hairy roots. We decided that this tree would be the main feature of the hotel. The owner doubt at first, the construction process will be much more difficult. Thai people normally do not plant a Ficus tree at homes. We had to convince that the tree was very critical for our landscape. First, the hotel basically had no view, which made it very hard to attract potential guests. This tree would be our ‘View’. From everywhere in the property, you could see this wonderful tree.
Because of Global Warming, Bangkok’s temperature is rising every year. We wanted to create more comfortable living space by reducing the temperature inside the property. The tree’s gigantic shade would significantly help. Also in Thai, the phase ‘Rom Po Rom Sai ’ (literally means ‘Under the Ficus shade’) means someone who protects you and makes you feel safe. Finally the owner agreed to keep the tree, including all of its hairy roots.
In order to reduce the temperature, just keeping the tree was not enough. Tall green walls were strategically replaced old concrete walls. Epipremnum aureum were planted watered by drip irrigation system to safe water consumption. From inside the restaurant, hotel residents would see these green façade. They can also sit comfortably outside, because the green wall significantly helped reducing the heat as well. With no view from each room. Thunbergia laurifolia Lindl. was planted just outside the windows. This fast growing herb covered most of the windows within months, acting as living curtain to filter outside heat from entering the rooms. Finally the pool was placed on top of restaurant’s roof. This is the only place where hotel residents would fully get sunbathing. However, water in the pool also helped reducing the heat for the diners below. After the completion, the hotel surprises every visitor, who did not expect this hidden oasis just right off a busy Bangkok neighborhood.