The project is inspired by the south east coast landscape of Thailand, the site which is of Khao-lak Lamru National Park and the symbolism of the project brief, to build a Memorial for the Tsunami Victims.
The main idea of the project is to recreate an artificial piece of nature integrated in the Park with the aim to provide people of a natural symbolic place where to meditate, experience and teach them to live with the force of nature. The project is understood as a temple hidden in the forest, light, nature and silence.
The strong natural image wanted to achieve is inspired by the pacific atolls and limestone islands with their mountains rising from the lagoons and seas defined by rings of coral reefs which protect them from the open sea. Humidity and heat convection result in a rain cloud constantly enveloping the peaks.
This coincides with the cosmographies of civilisations on either side of the Pacific Ocean. In Hindu and Budhism the fluctuation of seas and lands unfolds itself as several kali-yuk (a Kali-yuk is a unit of time of 432.000 years) compressed into a single moment. Constructed with a rippling profile, it represents a series of cosmic oceans and continents. In plan, this rippling forms a series of concentric rings of continents and oceans. It is marked in the centre with a mountain-continent called Mount Meru with which the Himalayas are invariable equated. Beyond the last ring of mountain-continents stretches the Ocean of Infinity. The Buddhism model adds four islands-continents in the Ocean of Infinity, introducing an element of orientation.
The waters of life, the sources of the great rivers of Asia, are shown gyrating down the Himalayas. This water culture is spread in Hinduism and Budhism and temples such as Angkor Wat in khmer culture, spread in Thai temples.
The project proposes a gate to the site as the main entrance with the parking area to receive people, a hall which invites to penetrate the forest. It is located on the esplanade by the side of the curved access road and melt with the surrounded landscape . Cars are left here, away from the main site. Mostly people will arrive by car, bus or motorcycle. Materially it gives a sense of what will be found on the towers, concrete to contain the earth and steel radial structure and cables covered with vegetation for the rest.
A journey through the forest leading to the site and the sea. They are made by linear timber elevated paths and from time to time elliptical platforms are located in them as meeting points and resting areas. A gravel road running parallel to the path at a lower level will allow to make all the necessary daily deliveries to the towers without much interfering to the site
Then nearby the sea and at the highest point of the proposed site, a cluster of five towers are erected. They limit a space among them and give form to two squares ,one open and elevated square called lagoon square and one enclosed and underneath the first one called union square which link the towers and distribute people to he entrance to each independent tower.
Union square. Descending softly through a main entrance ramp directs people who come from the main path is led directly into the square. Besides this, there are other secondary accesses.
This reflects the spaces contained in Phang Nga Bay's islands. They are riddled with caves many of which can not be safely explored. There you have to kayak through many stone caves known as Hongs and once you are inside a Hong you find a large space inside, opened to the sky and full of mangrove swamp.
The lagoon square is a reconstituted piece of nature, dry and humid. It pays attention to the water fluctuation and the symbolic value of the khemer temples, as well as recreates a micro clima by activating water sprinklers, vaporizers and fountains with refreshing qualities. The idea here is that the square is liable to flooding.
It also offers an artificial topographic floor covered with an adaptable ceramic round piece, the open joints are filled with earth and plants will grow.
To commemorate the Memorial Day each 26th of December. the lagoon square could be used as a huge stadium using the tower structures to fix on at the slopes of each tower tiers with removable round colour seats looking at the middle of the square where a central stage could be fixed. This will allow to have a capacity of about 2000 people.
The towers. The interior empty open space above is reinterpreted into every tower following the needs, creating five different internal spaces with a similar external shape, different structures but similar and differentiated skins.
The plan shape generation of the towers has been geometrised. It is the sum between half a circle and half an ellipse.
The main structure of the towers is developed in height in seven different structural levels, also doing an analogy with Budhism religion as a way to ascend to reach the nirvana, as well as pagodas in temples have been high level organised.
The main structure may be classified into two different ones, horizontal or spiral diaphragm. Four of them are spiral diaphragm because the program is developed spirally, only the warning centre with its horizontal floor plans has a horizontal diaphragm.
The towers are linked to each other by the concrete slab, which transfer the loads to the foundations and adds stability to the whole group. The structure will be a light prefabricated metal construction to be erected on site. It will be fired and rust protected and bolted on site. Due to the different sizes of the towers the structures are similar but different. The three taller ones (memorial, museum and warning centre) have a double structure formed by a main tubular metal profiles and a second made of cables. The two smaller ones have only one singles structure made of tubular metal profiles.
The following classification is made by size and each tower is described: 1st tower.- The Memorial.: the contemplative space. The tallest empty tower (30 meters high), organised at ground level with a glass pavilion on it and sculptured circle rings descending, with an artificial mangrove growing in the middle and water, representing the life tree. It has a very symbolic meaning because it represents the victims of the tsunami, having the same number of branches and leaves as victims. Vegetation cover the structure.
A lighting system will be fixed to the steel joints knots of the external structure. These lights will have different performances varying their intensity and colours following the sensors allocated in the warning centre showing the sea state, weather conditions or event. The way to perceive this tower at night will be as a “lighthouse”.
2nd tower. The Museum: the belvedere.It is the second tallest and biggest structure (about 25 meters high). It has an spiral rising ramp that contents the program of the exhibition and leads you to the top of the tower.
In the centre of the ground floor there is a star with the names of countries with victims of the tragedy.
It is covered with an external skin made of special ceramic tiles (indoor space). The skin responds to the needs of the tower, towards the south the tower has ceramic tiles containing solar panels, and different surfaces as coloured glass, green panels, opens or closes where it is appropriated.
3rd Tower. The Warning Centre: the the teaching space. It is the third tallest and biggest one (about 20 meters high). The plans are organized by a radial system of rooms around the vertical communication space. It has a external skin too made of the same special ceramic tile
4th Tower. Restaurant and Shop: the consum space. It is the fourth one (about 15 meters high). It has a external skin, which enclosed an indoor space.
5th Tower. Amphitheater: the representative space. It is the smallest one (about 10 meters high). It has been organized in one stepped level (ground floor). In order to adapt to the topography, the amphitheatre tries to follow the contour line.