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Architect Mathar Bunnag (left) with Dr Wolfgang Bohm yesterday

'Better Phuket' Strategy Aims to Improve

Friday, September 23, 2011
PHUKET: A future-design project for one of Phuket's best-known beach destinations aims to combine international know-how with Thai knowledge and culture to produce a better Phuket.

Administration and tourism leaders in Phuket's west-coast Kata-Karon are teaming with Silpakorn University Bangkok and German's Technical University Kaiserslautern to create a role-model for the evolution of Phuket into a green, urban and sustainable community that retains its Thainess.

The project, announced yesterday, is also likely to become a test-bed for such ideas as the alleviation of traffic congestion by coordinating all tuk-tuks and local taxis into a central parking zone to be called by resorts one by one as required, and the provision of bus stops for a regular low-cost public transport bus service from Phuket International Airport along Phuket's west coast.

More broadly, the joint venture aims to ''develop Kata and Karon as a lively, safe, prosperous, green and sustainable community of Thai identity.''

Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha endorsed the concept at an introductory meeting at Provincial Hall in Phuket City. Solutions to most of Phuket's more general problems are to be addressed in a Kata-Karon context.

''Tourism safety is high on our list of concerns,'' said Professor Dr Wolfgang Bohm of Kaiserslautern, who was with Mathar Bunnag, of Bunnag Architects, at the presentation.

The pair backed the governor's campaign to reign in Phuket's ''disturbing and discordant'' screaming signange and billboard plague.

Kata-Karon's administration supports the strategic innovation, which was initiated by Somchai Silapanont of the Kata-Karon Hotels Association.

In practice, 12 urban design students from Kaiserslautern will work with 12 students from Silpakorn to look at specific issues and produce practical solutions. The students from Germany will arrive next month to begin work, and return again in April, with results expected mid-year 2012.

''In short, it is hoped that this project will bring benefit to the particular design and planning tasks ahead in Kata Karon, but also will be an excellent example for new impulses in design and planning in other parts of Phuket provided by a young international generation of architects and planners,'' project leaders say.

The initial strategy lists 12 key items: City Gate Arrival Points at Kata and Karon; Identity of Kata and Karon; Urban and Architectural Scale; Architectural Styles; Signage and Advertisement; Vehicular Traffic; Parking; Pedestrian Traffic; Landscape and Surfaces; Electrical Infrastructure Systems; Water Infrastructure Systems; Underutilised Spaces.

Here's what the project's planners have to say:

Step 1: Survey of the Area of the Main Street Kata Karon

A thorough survey of the existing conditions of the areas and their legal framework are a prerequisite of the following planning and design process. The Kata Karon planning team, which has been already established in 2009, has done a systematic planning survey of Kata Karon. Its materials and results can be used as a start and foundation of the following design and planning by the two universities students.
Students should do and/or collect and understand the mapping of the existing land use, topography, buildings (physical condition, urban setting - height, material and construction, color) , functions, ownerships, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, parking, bridges and infrastructure systems (road network, power and communication network), existing green and water streams, identification of historical and cultural remnants and landmarks, legal and planning framework.
The students and faculty will receive advice and support on site by architect Khun Mathar Bunnag, Bangkok, Khun Somchai Silapanont, and Kata Karon council.

Step 2: Preliminary Design and Planning

The second step is targeted towards the elaboration of a design concept for specific chosen areas by the Thai and German students and their professors.
The data derived from the survey and data provided by the KataKaron Planning team is being collected and jointly reviewed in order to identify the problems and potentials of each area.
On the basis of the insights and thorough understanding of each area of Kata Karon, a preliminary design and planning is being developed by the students of both universities together with their professors. These design and planning concepts contain the visions, but also detailled plans necessary for their realisation.
The results of the preliminary design and planning by three-dimension will be visualised by a general masterplan, by plans, sections and elevations for each individual area of design, furthermore bvy perspectives, axonometrics and photo images.
The preliminary design and planning will be elaborated at the students home universities, in Bangkok and at Kaiserslautern/Germany.

Step 3: Presentation of the Design Results

The final design of the students of both universities will be presented for discussion first within the respective universities, in Bangkok and Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Design results will be collected and prepared for a public exhibition in Kata Karon.
At this occasion, senior advisors Khun Mathar Bunnag and Khun Somchai Silapanont will do the opening presentation and ceremony to the public together with the Mayor and the Kata-Karon council.
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Comments

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Lovely idea....so who will implement the practical solutions from these "Thai and German students with their professors"?

Posted by Sir Burr on September 23, 2011 13:02

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Love it. Implementation could let it down... but I'm eager to be wrong.

Posted by Duncan on September 23, 2011 21:46


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