Ming Mongkol Green Park: A Natural Park Fit for a King that Speaks to the People
Article by By Erin Tharp.
Ming Mongkol Green Park, Landscape Architects 49 Limited, in Mittraphap highway, Thap Kwang, Kaeng Khoi, Saraburi, Thailand
Cleaning up and repurposing unused sites has become a major trend in landscape architecture over the last decade. Most of these sites are former brown sites that require some sort of remediation, but Ming Mongkal Green Park actually started out as a deteriorated orchard.
Located on 22 rai on the Mittraphap highway near Thap Kwang, Khang Khol, Saraburi, in Thailand, the park is a Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative (CSR) by owner Siam City Cement. The owner contracted with Landscape Architects 49 Limited, which set out to create a place for environmental education and preservation awareness.
Ming Mongkol Green Park
They also wanted this place to help promote social service and interaction for the people who live nearby, as well as be a place that will help increase tourism and give people the opportunity to interact with nature — a leisure activity that is hard to find in Thailand’s cities.
The park designers also hope to help benefit the local OTOP product and temporary market. According to the Royal Thai Embassy, “OTOP stands for ‘One Tambon (meaning subdistrict) One Product.’ It is a local entrepreneurship stimulus program which aims to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai tambon all over Thailand.”
To help encourage this market, Landscape Architects 49 Limited included a special blend of service facilities, including public restrooms, a coffee shop, retail shops, both permanent and temporary local product vendor kiosks, and an herbal garden. All of these things blend together to create a park with a vernacular landscape.
This park also implements the “Sustainable Living” philosophy under the initiative of Thailand’s king. The OTOP kiosk was designed to be aesthetically pleasing alongside needed architectural components. This was done by creating facades that reveal the steel structure within, which expresses both its strength and beauty simultaneously.
This same of idea of dual functionality flows into the landscape itself. Here, the main concept was to create a design that would not only be functional, but would also embrace Thai culture by laying out the park in the same manner as a Thai city. To do this, the designers created a community center and marketplace and sought to preserve existing trees.
Preserving the trees was not the only sustainable concept the designers utilized. These concepts were used extensively throughout the site, including not only in the landscape design, but also in the layout and the location of the facilities and in the buildings themselves. Buildings were placed so that the natural surface drainage of the site could be maximized. This, along with the use of unsealed concrete paving — created by the land’s owners — allows water to flow back into the aquifer through collection swales. All excess overflow is channeled into a manmade pond.
The designers also wanted the site to be energy efficient. To accomplish this goal, they used energy sourced from solar power and wind power to provide electricity for the lighting used all over the site. This natural energy is also used to power the turbine that pushes the water through the stream and eventually over a waterfall.
Finally, the designers chose an interesting plant palette. Instead of using plants commonly found in more traditional Thai landscapes, they instead chose to make a statement about natural beauty that is often overlooked by city dwellers. To do this, they chose plants that most people would classify as weeds. But in this setting, they hope that people will be able to see their common beauty and will want to preserve them instead of killing them off.
These trees, grasses, and wildflowers combine in a setting that appears to have always been there and was not in fact carefully created by man. The use of these native plants also cuts down on the maintenance required on site, which also cuts down on environmentally harmful products.
The project has won numerous awards since its completion in 2013, including the ASEAN Energy Awards in 2015 for Tropical Building, the 2015 Thailand Energy Award, and the 2015 Thai Landscape Architecture Award (TALA) for General Design-Public Space Project.
Ming Mongkol Green Park is an excellent example of how both natural and manmade elements can work together to create a place that is not only sustainable and educational, but also culturally inviting. All of the elements here work together to create a place that brings people closer to nature and closer to the culture of the people who helped to build it, while also educating them on the processes in nature that we need to help preserve.
Full Project Credits For Ming Mongkol Green Park:
Project Name: Ming Mongkol Green Park
Location: Mittraphap highway, Thap Kwang, Kaeng Khoi, Saraburi, Thailand
Site Area: 32,000 square meters
Project Value: 60 million baht
Client/Owner: Siam City Cement Public Company Limited
Landscape Architect: Landscape Architects 49 Limited
Design Director: Predapond Bandityanond
Project Team: Suttida Tharanatham, Thossapon Mongkhondee, Hathaichano Sukaviriya, Nattapong Meechaiya, Prachya Bausomboon
Architect: Architects 49 Limited
Structural Engineer: Architectural Engineering 49 Limited
M&E Engineer: M&E Engineering 49 Limited
Photographer: L49, W Workspace
- Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design by Michael Bayer
- Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature by Douglas Farrs
Article by Erin Tharp
Erin is a registered landscape architect and has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is working for her own firm, Tharp Design.
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