The Banglamphu Heritage Corridor

The Banglamphu Heritage Corridor

The mission of the Banglamphu Heritage Corridor is to lead the revitalization of housing and public space conditions in canal side neighborhoods on Rattanakosin Island with heritage preservation activities. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Architecture at Chulalongkorn University and the Department of City Planning of the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority.

For the purposes of this investigation, the areas surrounding the canals in Rattanakosin Island have been divided into the following areas, each referencing zones distinguished by a highlighter waterway:

1) Area adjacent to the outer boundary canal – upper island (outer boundary canal separates the island from the rest of the City)
2) Area adjacent to the outer boundary canal – mid island
3) Area adjacent to the outer boundary canal – lower island
4) Area adjacent to the inner boundary canal
5) Area adjacent to the cross canal – north (the cross canal roughly bisects the island)
6) Area adjacent to the cross canal – south

The diverse neighborhoods and communities of the island’s upper regions – specifically, the localities surrounding Banglamphu Canal – express continuity through their physical, economic, historical, and cultural fabrics. In addition, representatives from these neighborhoods engage and cooperate actively in efforts to preserve and promote the heritage of Rattanakosin Island while furthering its urban and economic development. The dense neighborhood surrounding Banglamphu Canal was selected as the primary research area for a new department for preservation and development as per the mission of this advisory project to plan and upgrade housing and public space conditions in canal side neighborhoods on Rattanakosin Island.

We have subdivided the areas around Banglamphu Canal into the following micro-neighborhoods:

1) Community of Sangwetchwisayaram Temple
2) Community of Jakkrapong Mosque
3) Community of Bovornrangsee Alley
4) Area abutting Thani and Kraisee Roads
5) Community of Khiannivas and Khai Jae Alleys
6) Community of Baan Phanthom Alley
7) Areas of Soi Samsen 2-4
8) Area abutting Dinsoe Road

In order to position the project for future implementation, the collaborating teams have established three pilot projects that will focus study of the target areas:

1) Heritage Atlas: The Banglamphu Canal Heritage Corridor
2) A Guideline to Preserve Architectural Traditions in Canal Side Homes and Public Spaces in Baan Phanthom community
3) The Creation and Cultivation of a Preservation Network for the Neighborhoods of Banglamphu Canal

Pilot Project 1:
Heritage Atlas: The Banglamphu Canal Heritage Corridor

The creation of a cultural inheritance map for the neighborhoods of Banglamphu Canal involves the identification and visualization of appropriate sites and artifacts within the study area. The products of this work will be used to advocate for their historic and cultural value to the immediate area. Two main principles guided the development of this map:

1) Sites or artifacts must be recognized by local residents as having significance and point towards a common heritage or a shared historical memory
2) Streetscapes should display qualities of a Historic Urban Landscape (HUL). They must be considered from a perspective that is more contextual than the individual scale of the building, and possess characteristics of strong cultural value that can contribute to and enrich preservation activity.

We have developed draft guidelines to aid evaluation, moving from the scale of the building to the scale of the street:

a) Building: The structure is not a monument or ruin and is in active use; examples include shophouses and single family homes
b) Building complex: The structures are connected in interrelated functional and physical systems, such as a temple compound or housing compound
c) Streetscape: The agglomeration of structures, circulation routes, and public spaces are harmonious with accompanying infrastructures such as roads and canals

In addition to these markers, there is an ephemeral set of qualities the project seeks to identify that cannot be adequately captured or defined. At some point in the past, material, experiential and temporal elements collided and kindled a narrative that endured and has been passed on to the present day, ultimately finding definition in architecture or some other urban artifact. The project cannot fix these complex sentiments. What the project can do well is identify areas of categorical similarity, whether of physical, economic, or demographic characteristics or by type of activity, such as religious use, and assist in guiding and organizing investigation into the more interpretive aspects of heritage preservation.

Pilot Project 2:
A Guideline to Preserve Architectural Traditions in Canal Side Homes and Public Spaces in Baan Phanthom community

Study of the architectural traditions in the Baan Phantom community first involves documentation of the housing typologies along the Priyanok Road. This area is composed of a mixture of houses originating in different time periods and demonstrating different architectural styles. In addition, the study involves observation and documentation of the cycles of activity that define neighborhood life and their spatial correlates. From these analyses, recommendations can be made on improvements to enhance quality of life for neighborhood residents. This may include interventions to optimize and beautify the streetscape by integrating elements of rapidly accelerating modernity with more traditional or historical characteristics. Other interventions may include facilitating dialogue between the community, political representatives, and the business sectors in order to jumpstart a collaboration to preserve and valorize the community’s unique architectural traditions.

Pilot Project 3:
The Creation and Cultivation of a Preservation Network for the Neighborhoods of Banglamphu Canal

The primary goal in creating and cultivating a preservation network in the area of Banglamphu Canal is the conversion of local residents and community groups towards preservation practices that further shared neighborhood development goals. A coalition of individuals, families, and groups invested in the cultural heritage of the area makes for a project that is more representative of the collective priorities of end users and more productive in its efforts to get off the ground and sustain true momentum. A network that is driven first and foremost by local voices ensures that all preservation-related activities are fulfilled in the interest of the community.

This project initiates with a focus on building trust and an accountable working process between area residents and small business owners along the Pra Athit Road. Beginning at the intersection of Pra Sumeru and Pra Athit Roads, commercial businesses represent a gateway opportunity for heritage interventions that continue on into the interior and more heavily residential neighborhoods within the Banglamphu Canal area. In the long term, integration into this expanding network of other types of businesses – such as in traditional crafts or manufacturing – can also be achieved.



Project consultant:
Assoc. Prof. Pinraj Khanjanusthiti
Project leader:
Asst. Prof. Wimonrart Issarathumnoon

Researchers and teams:
Parinya Chukaew (Historic Preservation Architect, Lecturer at Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang)

Peeraya Boonprasong (Historic Preservation Architect, Lecturer at Department of Related Arts in Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University)

Parima Amnuaywattana (Historic Preservation Architect)

Prat Tinrat, Siwat Wittayalertpanya, Nuttapon Jaratsuksawat and Leenavat Teerapongramkul