Preserving Traditional Architectural Arts

Principles and Background

Thai architecture is a segment of the heritage arts that is sited in material culture. It constitutes a living embodiment of the traditions, customs and folk knowledge that define the Thai nation.

Traditional Thai architecture owes its existence in part to practices passed down to the present day by regional craftsmen and the craftsmen of the royal court, whose work and experimentation evolved the artistic form to its current respected ideals. However, fewer and fewer teachers and scholars of these traditions remain active, and those that are advanced in age. We lack a critical mass of scholars and craftsmen to maintain this body of knowledge and to reengage the traditions back into dominant contemporary culture.

In order to prosper as a nation and to stand out amidst a competitive global landscape, it is imperative for Thailand to prioritize scholarship and research into its native traditions and innovations.

The campaign to preserve traditional architectural arts was set up to protect and ensure the transmission of knowledge of

Thai architectural traditions. It is both the mission and obligation of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture to safeguard the nations’ arts architectural heritage for successive generations.

Public Service Architecture

Public service architecture seeks to integrate the teaching and study of architecture in order to address the needs of a temple or local community group. The aim of these projects is for students to develop skills and expertise acquired in the classroom further by practicing in

the field and in the context of real world, client-based projects. Projects may include the preservation of traditional architectural elements or the design of improvements or upgrades that harmonize with existing architectural precedents and themes. Learnings from these projects will guide student research, which will be developed and presented for review in a public convening. Material from these research projects will be made available for architects and other practitioners doing work in those same communities.