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City in a Fluidity Landscape Rethinking the Urban Lao Village on the Mighty Mekong

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Title: City in a Fluidity Landscape Rethinking the Urban Lao Village on the Mighty Mekong
Authors: Phanphengdy, Siphathay
Advisor: Ashraf, Kazi
Issue Date: May 2010
Abstract: The thesis focuses on the development of a new urban village in a vulnerable landscape on the Mekong delta in Laos. This design thesis begins with a site, located in the lowland just away from the border between Laos and Thailand along the mighty Mekong River that floods unpredictably in the national capital of Vientiane, also known as Viang Chan. The site is called Don Chan, which sits on the riverbank of Laos overlooking the river and Thailand border (see figure 0.1). The design thesis sheds light on the vision of creating a sustainable future for the floodplains of Don Chan for the social housing development. It will explore what it means to be at the forefront of urban regeneration and act as the catalyst for new sustainable communities. Furthermore, the thesis will also examine and explore the concept of “Baan” or Lao village. It will investigate the existing village pattern, arrangement, and organization. The research includes not only the studies of the physical grouping but also the social grouping pattern and building types. Moreover, the thesis will explore the current issues of the overall site in terms of the climatic and geological pattern such as flood-prone areas, flow of water, water pattern, seasonal change, relationship to the landscape, relationship to the existing village, and adaptations near the river. In addition, the thesis also analyzes the city of Vientiane, its urban layout, city pattern, and movements. It includes the analysis of the existing village on the Mekong delta and its relationship to the water, site and city. The design strategy and case study of this new urban development plan will accommodate the entire site of Don Chan. The findings then are laid out in the basis of exploration for a new way in tackling the social housing master plan development in the Mekong delta of Vientiane. The objective of this thesis is to define some of the key issues in developing the area of Don Chan, and then to develop a conceptual design to demonstrate an alternative development as an option to accommodate the site. The goal is to contribute in developing new ideas of a healthy development along the Mekong basin in Vientiane within the context of architecture and urban planning that are socially, economically, and environmentally responsive to the Laotian communities. Its guidance will be relevant to all aspects of the built environment that includes building designs, spaces, landscapes and systems. To some, history and tradition are often considered non-contemporary design concepts. Although modernity is very contemporary, iv modernity and tradition are not always contradictory. The two concepts can interact with one another harmoniously and beneficially. The result will be the first sustainable development in Vientiane established through the adaptability of local traditional ways, using modern ideas by way of today’s technology, and new methodologies. Figure 0.1: Proposed Site of Don Chan, Vientiane, Laos. Source : Data from “Google Earth 2009.”
Pages/Duration: 211 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/45759
Appears in Collections:2010



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