Chulalongkorn University is the first university in Thailand to complete 100 years and it celebrated its century in the most commendable way. Unlike many centenarian institutions who celebrate their milestones by building concrete vertical structures, Chulalongkorn University preferred to celebrate its 100th anniversary by giving Bangkok city 11 acre park – a park with a unique feature. Do you know what’s so unique about this park?
Climate change is threatening the Mother Earth and has made our future uncertain. The Chulalongkorn Centenary Park created by Chulalongkorn University is a symbol of mankind’s concern about the impending danger and its contribution towards our fight against climate change. The Park is designed to face future uncertainties of climate change. Opened in 2017, Chulalongkorn Centenary Park is the first critical piece of green infrastructure in Bangkok to mitigate detrimental ecological issues and reduce disaster risk.
Unlike other public parks around the city, this is the first in Thailand to demonstrate how a park can help the city in reducing the urban flooding and to confront climate change, all the while offering city dwellers a place to reconnect with nature. Designed with innovative ecological design components, the park reminds the city how to live with water, rather than fear it.
The design concept, developed by Bangkok-based landscape architecture – Landprocess, inclines the entire park to create a container for water: the raised green roof directs runoff water through sloped rain gardens, filtered in the constructed wetland, and then to the retention pond. The park’s mid-lawn is a detention area, allowing space for flooding and retention pond overflow. Park treats water from neighboring areas by sending it through the wetland filtration system.
The main lawn at the park’s center is a vast inclined open space for recreational activities. Unlike other flat parks around the city, this inclined park offers the unique experience of multi-purpose amphitheater for public events. On stormy days, the lawn absorbs rain and runoff, using gravity to send the water to the retention pond by the low end of the park. During severe flooding, this retention pond can store excessive water and double in size by expanding into the park’s main lawn. Visitors, too, can become an active part of the park’s water treatment system by hopping onto any stationary water bikes along the pond and using their exercise to keep the water aerated.
Extending the park design into the neighborhood, a major adjacent roadway was reduced from four to two lanes in favor of widened pedestrian walkways and new bike lanes. The walkways connect directly to paths in the park, creating a seamless pedestrian experience. Linear rain gardens, with a multitude of native plants, line the road to absorb water.
This park’s objective is not merely beautification or recreation. Park has also given a strong message – a message that Bangkok needs not only more green space but more resilient landscaping to tackle climate change and its water challenges. Today this message is relevant not just to Bangkok but to most of the cities around the world.