LafargeHolcim Awards: Mangrove Recovery in Thailand

‘Mangrove Recovery in Thailand – Coastal erosion and economic enhancement’ has won the LafargeHolcim Awards Next Generation 3rd prize Asia Pacific (US$15,000). It is a project by Dolathep Chetty, an architect at Architects 49 House Design Limited in Bangkok, Thailand.

This proposal intends to tackle the coastal erosion and ecosystem threats in the northern Gulf of Thailand while promoting sustainable fishing and tourism.

“The project also looks ahead to a point in time when it’s not needed anymore,” said Marilyne Andersen, one of the jury members from the LafargeHolcim Foundation Academic Committee, and also a professor of sustainable construction technologies at EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland. “It is an example of how respectful with nature we have to be with our interventions.”

Mangrove renaturation

Thailand’s coastal regions have been overexploited and damaged by excessive tourism and industrial manufacturing for decades. This project aims to counteract this development.

“We generated the core idea from the philosophy of symbiosis of architecture and environment,” said Mr Chetty. There followed what the jury describes as a convincing, multi-layered, multi-scale design based on careful analysis of the site and with thoughtful integration of environmental technologies into the landscape and architectural planning.

A total of 18 triangular breakwaters off the coast break the waves and thus reduce erosion. A system of bamboo screens further breaks the force of the waves and collects sediment from the sea water. This in turn can be used to reforest the mangroves. Mussel and crab farms will also be introduced, and they will be accessible to tourists.

LafargeHolcim Awards

Now in its sixth edition (2020-2021), the triennial LafargeHolcim Awards event is considered the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design. The Next Generation category recognises the visionary concepts and bold ideas of young professionals and students. For the Asia Pacific region, there are five projects that have received Next Generation prizes. 

The issue of sustainability in the construction industry is of paramount importance, given the construction and maintenance of buildings accounts for 40% of both energy and material consumption worldwide. In view of climate change and diminishing resources, new approaches are needed along the entire value chain of the construction industry. Developing and applying these new approaches are what the LafargeHolcim Awards promote.

Images and videos: LafargeHolcim

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