a note on IALI Jabar field-trip to Bangkok and Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya Historical Park
We begin our second day trip early in the morning, heading north from Bangkok Metropolis to the old City of Ayutthaya. We arrived there when the sun still near the horizon and the weather is still friendly before it gets blazing hot in the afternoon. We visited Wat Phra Ram, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and Wat Mahathat.
photo taken by Priska Ivena
Our kind tour guide, Mr. Chalemsak, explained to us about the glory days of Ayutthaya Kingdom, the people living at that time, the Temples covered by real gold, and how they were all destroyed in a war and taken by the Burmese Kingdom. The Ayutthaya City was surrounded by a canal river, made the city center safe from the flood and also from the enemy attack. The surrounding land was fertile paddy fields, and the people live wealthy from the agriculture.
The Burmese came when the canal dried, the Palace and the Temples were plundered, and the Siamese people brought by the Burmese. After that, the King replaced the Capital to Thonburi, in the East side of Chao Phraya (near Bangkok) and begin a new throne period.
The Historical Park consists of Palace, many pavilions, temples, worship buildings, decorated by Buddha statues, spread throughout the old City. The temples were massive and grandeur, built by ancient kind of brick and mud soil, in form of original Thai style Temple and Prang (Cambodian style Temple)
Thai style Temple with sharp-conical roof
Prang (Cambodian style) with rounded shape roof
What came to my mind was… can you imagine how they built the City, the Temples, how they constructed the stones and soils into massive and grandeur buildings, with limited knowledge and information at that time? How come there are also similar places with similar buildings, order and arrangement, though it stretched out thousands kilometers away from it, at the nearly same time? (it remind me of Trowulan Mojopahit, and Mr. Firmansyah with Muara Takus)
For me, a visit to Ayutthaya that day, leave a big question mark, a deep curiosity about ancient human history… Ayutthaya’s magnificent, mystical, and magical atmosphere surely leave something in my mind I couldn’t describe into words…
PTT Metro Forest
A visit to this Urban Reforestation Project, built by PTT Company Ltd. (it’s one of Oil Company in Thailand), was considered necessary since the initial discussion of trip preparation. This project featured in many landscape architecture websites, designed by Landscape Architect Bangkok and Spacetime Architect.
It is located in the Eastern side of the city, in the middle of residential area. We are welcomed and accompanied by Ms. Nantawan Sirisup from TK STUDIO (formerly LAB) during our visit. She explained to us about how the Metro Forest was designed, their goals on greening the city, plant the trees as the assets in the future, and the operation of this man-made forest.
photo taken by Mr. Firmansyah
This projects required multi-disciplinary proffesionals, from Architects, Landscape Architects, also Botanists. They’re working together to create a man-made forest, including the 200 meters length canopy walk, the 23 meters tall Observation Tower (shouldn’t be higher because it’s near the Airport), gallery, indoor theatre and the rooftop park.
The Metro Forest construction finished in 2014. Before, it was an unoccupied bushes land with illegal dumping. After 3 years of completion, the trees grow tall, the plants covered the ground, and they’re still growing. The plants species were selected from the native plants, ranged from slow growing plants to fast growing plants. They’re combined together with other species to create a natural-like forest.
When a tree is planted in one area closing to other trees of the same species, the growth will not be perfect, they will not reach the maximum size and growth. The same species should be planted with some distance, combined with other plants so that they will compete each other, absorb different nutrition from the soil, and reach their maximum growth very well. The maximum height of the trees are expected to be around 30 meters tall, maybe in the next 10 or 20 years from now.
The pedestrian ways which crossing the middle of the forest acts like a barrier and break the ecosytem into some island called berm. Each berm has edge (the border) and core (the middle). The bigger the berm, the more of the core, means the better system. The green belt and outer berms create microclimate system that acts like a barrier to the surrounding area, it helps to lower the heat, and reduce the pollution entering the forest.
Our delight visit to the Forest ended happily by taking pictures together with Ms. Nantawan, Mr. Suksun Somngam from PTT Metro Forest Management Board, and also Ms. Mattanyu Meksawat, my friend from Chulalongkorn University.