Architect Expo: Borderless

The theme of the 2013 Thailand Architect Fair is “BORDERLESS”. It reflects the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) initiative to increase trade and investment by improving integration between the 10 South East Asian nations. Architecture is well positioned to play a role as it crosses professional and discipline boundaries.  However, architecture should not only be about deriving economic benefit from physical buildings, but also improving cultural and environmental awareness as well. It is with this in mind that Luke Yeung and Jariyawadee Lekawatana of Architectkidd were involved in this year’s Borderless architectural competition, sponsored by the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA).

What the jury of the Borderless Competition was seeking were ideas that can improve the integration of border spaces of ASEAN countries. Despite cultural differences between the 10 countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), common roots do exist, and we were looking for original and innovative ways that design and architecture can bridge divisions between ASEAN borders.  Education is another important factor. In general people know little about the region’s borders beyond recent headlines of conflict and strife between neighboring countries and borderlines.

Along with Architectkidd, the jury consisted of Asian architects and educators Vo Trong Nghia, Takashi Niwa and Masaaki Iwamoto of Vo Trong Nghai Architects, Takaharu Tezuka, Ary Indra, Rafael David and Johansen Yap of Aboday, and Boonserm Premthada.

Almost 200 design proposals from over 30 countries were submitted to the Borderless Competition.  The submissions showed that architectural design can be the connecting bridge between two nations that are disputing a shared border area. The strongest proposals expressed the potential that architecture can help forge links between people within the region.  In addition, we appreciated submissions that researched indigenous materials and resources.  Other notable designs focused on developing local knowledge as a starting point.  It showed that architecture was not just about designing a building, but also creating a framework to support education and helping to promote cultural products and services.

An interactive exhibition on the Borderless Competition was shown during the 2013 Architect Fair in Bangkok. The competition itself was conducted and coordinated digitally, with all information shared, transferred and collected via internet.  The competition brief and program, winners and submissions can be viewed on Facebook:

In addition, please read more coverage of the Borderless Competition on Archdaily, Bustler, Indesignlive, and South East Asian edition of Artinfo.  Also there is coverage of ASA and all events of the Architect Fair in Thai-language publication a day bulletin.