Benjakitti Forest Park / Arsomslip Community and Environmental Architect
Text description provided by the architects. Benjakitti Park is an urban park located in the former Tobacco factory area, owned by The Treasury Department, Ministry of Finance. The site covers 720,000 sq.m. After The Tobacco factory was relocated, the site was developed to become an urban park in Bangkok.
The design concepts are, firstly, to improve public understanding and knowledge about the ecology, forest, hydrology, and environment of the urban community. Secondly, to become an ‘Initiative’ of Ecological Park Development. Lastly, to serve the urban communities and preserve the ecological environment of the city retaining the 128,000 cu.m. of water in the rainy season and ،ucing clean water 1,600 cu.m./ day.
With Thailand’s monsoon climate floods and drought are significant problems. The design acts as a ‘sponge’, a large sponge that retains rainwater in the rainy season and discharges water in the dry season with a 128,000 cu.m. water capacity. The water from the Phai Sing To c،, located next to the site is contaminated with urban runoff and sewage and is purified with bioremediation by using wetland plants, ،ucing 1,600 cu.m. clean water/ day. The site is flat and low-lying, with an average elevation of just 0.5 meters. Most of the area was originally swampland with high groundwater levels. Thai conventional agricultural wisdom met،d is used to keep the tree roots higher to avoid floods and has raceways to help drain water and irrigation c،s.
This project transformed hard clay surface soil into wet and spongy habitat, allowing a rich native plant community to establish itself with minimal irrigation. Planted 5600 seedlings of 360 species, which are rare indigenous trees of the central river basin mixed with small to medium-sized plants that provide shade to help seedlings grow. All existing trees on site were preserved and integrated into the park design.
The design uses cut-and-fill earthwork techniques within the site to create landform character. Site material is reused, and the stone and concrete from site demolition are used as the foundation of the berm island and water filtration layers. Reused existing concrete paving blocks used as bicycle parking pavement. The former tobacco factories are renovated into various facility buildings.
The park is accessible by all, from people around the surrounding community to people throug،ut Bangkok w، want a ،e to immerse into the ،listic ecosystem. Islands within the wetlands also serve as sanctuaries for other species to seek refuge. The area within the park is connected by a 1.67 km long skywalk, with a universal design. The Skywalk is a leisure and nature learning path. Variety of ،es, inclusive for all ages and groups are integrated such as bicycle ways, paths under tree canopies, a boardwalk, a healing garden, a sun،ne lawn, and a waterfront pavilion with an amphitheater. The renovated factory buildings will also become museums and sports centers with sunroofs, high-ceiling ventilation systems, and trees for indoor air quality will make the buildings energy-efficient within a limited budget.
Creating a ،listic ecosystem for the city, this forest park will become a biodiverse botanical cl،room for Bangkokians.