Architecture of Elephant World explores the unique relationship between elephants and Thai locals

Architecture of Elephant World explores the unique relationship between elephants and Thai locals

16 Oct 2020 News

On a rural site located 52 kilometers north of the city of Surin, Thailand, the architecture of the new Elephant World expresses the uniquely close relationship between Thai elephants and Thai locals, who consider elephants as part of the human family structure. As such, Elephant World isn’t viewed as a collection of enclosures for undomesticated animals, but rather a large (5400 square meter) residence for extended family members

Credit: Spaceshift Studio

Elephant World is a government project with the aim of bringing local Kui people and elephants back to their homeland and ensuring a suitable and sustainable living conditions for elephants. The project, designed by Bankok Project Studio, includes the Kui village, an elephant hospital, the pre-existing temple and graveyard for both humans and elephants, along with a museum telling communities stories and history.

elephant-cover.jpg
Credit: Spaceshift Studio

Bangkok Project Studio architects describe the project as a home for both elephants and humans that treads lightly on the land. The design is anchored around a large central canopy called ‘The Cultural Courtyard.’ Measuring 70 x 100, the large sloping roof accommodates cultural events and religious ceremonies ranging from the birth to the death of both humans and elephants. 1.5m in thickness, the deep canopy roof is clad with wooden slats and punctured throughout to bring in light and ventilate the space. While expansive and generous feeling, the canopy’s humble, low-lying form sits in harmony with the surrounding village.

Credit: Spaceshift Studio

The location of Elephant World is an arid plateau located 4 kilometers from the river which poses a challenge as the 200 elephants living here require more than 8,000 cubic meters of water per month. As such, a rainwater collection pond was dug on site. The resulting 8,500 cubic meters of soil was transformed into six mounts that create an amphitheater-like courtyard. Sloping from 4 to 1.2 meters, the mounds evoke the rolling soil⁠ in which elephants romp around to cool their body temperature and find relief from insects. 

Credit: Spaceshift Studio

Strengthening the mounds are basalt rocks sourced 40 minutes from the site. When basalt is mined to the groundwater level, the water wells up, forming a water reservoir. This construction, consequently, created another water reservoir in the neighboring district. 

Credit: Spaceshift Studio

Certainly not going unnoticed in the design is an observation tower made of 480,000 handmake bricks. Designed to weather and age beautifully, it gives sweeping views over the large terrain that surrounds.  

Related Content
Latest News
Cave-like Zolaism Café  offers a sensual and perceptual feel of returning to nature
16 Jan 2022 News
Cave-like Zolaism Café offers a sensual and perceptual feel of returning to nature

In Aranya-Qinhuangdao, China, Zolaism Café by B.L.U.E Architecture invites visitors in to esc... More

Playful atmosphere of Fuego Camina Conmigo Barcelona emphasizes art and creativity
16 Jan 2022 News
Playful atmosphere of Fuego Camina Conmigo Barcelona emphasizes art and creativity

On the third floor of a building located in the industrial neighbourhood of Gracia, Barcelona, the n... More

Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill passes away aged 82
14 Jan 2022 News
Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill passes away aged 82

Studio Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura (RBTA) just announced the sad news that their founder h... More

Cedar-clad OG House by Omar Gandhi Architect maximizes a narrow lot in the vibrant North End of Halifax
14 Jan 2022 News
Cedar-clad OG House by Omar Gandhi Architect maximizes a narrow lot in the vibrant North End of Halifax

On a narrow lot in the vibrant, historic North End of Halifax, this project combines the primary res... More

Sculptural Stormwater Facility by gh3* architects in Toronto tells a compelling story of urban water treatment
14 Jan 2022 News
Sculptural Stormwater Facility by gh3* architects in Toronto tells a compelling story of urban water treatment

Treating urban run-off from Toronto’s new West Don Lands and Quayside neighbourhood developmen... More

Top 10 Trending Products of 2021
13 Jan 2022 News
Top 10 Trending Products of 2021

A look back at the most specified products of 2021, including a retro table lamp, a classic light sw... More

17th century Amsterdam canal house thoroughly renovated with colour and creative details
13 Jan 2022 News
17th century Amsterdam canal house thoroughly renovated with colour and creative details

Originally constructed in 1675, this once neglected canal house has been renovated by Amsterdam base... More

Dramatic pyramidal roof peaks define Foster + Partners’ Datong Art Museum
12 Jan 2022 News
Dramatic pyramidal roof peaks define Foster + Partners’ Datong Art Museum

Featuring four interconnected pyramidal roof peaks that appear to emerge from the earth below, the D... More

Featured Products
Featured Projects