Fai Fah Centre, Bangkok

Blog March 10, 2014
Architects Spark have added a stairwell resembling a giant wedge of Swiss cheese onto two Bangkok shophouses they've converted into a youth centre.
Commissioned by Thai bank TMB, the Fai Fah centre provides the venue for a programme of workshops and classes that encourage children and teenagers to take part in creative activities.
Above: photograph is by TMB
During the design process the architects held design workshops with local children, who had the initial ideas for the steel lattice that covers the facades of the two original shophouses.
Above: photograph is by Spark
"Spark’s workshops with the Fai-Fah children were inspiring," explained TMB Bank's Paradai Theerathada. "They gave the children a great sense of accomplishment from being involved in the design process for such a large-scale, tangible project."
The children also chose a palette of colours to mark each of the building's six storeys, including the bright yellow that features in the event space and mezzanine gallery at the base of the building.
Other rooms include a library, an art studio, a pottery classroom and a dance studio.
Above: photograph is by Spark
A garden is located on the roof, where the L-shaped stair tower wraps around to create a storage room.
Above: photograph is by TMB
Long, narrow shophouses are a typical building typology in Southeast Asia, and we also recently featured one converted into a residence with a swimming pool inside.
Photography is by Lin Ho, apart from where otherwise stated.
Here's a project description from Fai-Fah: FAI-FAH Fai-Fah, which means “light energy”, is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme initiated in April 2010 by TMB Bank. The programme acts as a catalyst for change in Thai society through working with underprivileged children and teenagers in their community using the arts as a vehicle for self-development and creative thinking. In October 2010, Spark was invited to design Fai-Fah Prachautis, the refurbishment of two shop houses located in a residential district of Bangkok. The art and creative education programmes contained in the client’s brief have been distributed over five floors, and include: the multi-function “living room”, the art studio, a library, the gallery, the dance studio and a multi-purpose rooftop garden. The design was developed at interactive workshops with the Fai-Fah children and teenagers, volunteer arts staff, and members of TMB’s CSR team. Ideas generated during the workshop such as the façade screen and the interior colours were incorporated into the design, underlining the positive nature of the collaborative process and ownership of the concept amongst all of the project's protagonists.
Ground floor plan
The five levels of the building are linked by a central feature staircase with each level defined by its own colour theme.
First floor mezzanine plan
Utilities and services are housed in a new inverted L- shaped structure, the "Utility Stick", which is plugged into the rear of the building; it rises from the courtyard and bends to form a garden store at roof level.
Second floor plan
The existing shop house façade has been transformed by the application of a bespoke lattice screen and Fai-Fah logo, a statement that the building is different from its adjacent neighbours and announcing to the community that Fai-Fah has arrived.
Third floor plan
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Forth floor plan
GFA (area above ground): 569 sqm Project Completion: Quarter 1, 2012 Facilities: Event Space (Living Room), Gallery, Library, Art Studio, Dance Studio, Roof garden
Roof plan
Architect: Spark Design Director: Stephen Pimbley Team: Wenhui Lim, Mark Mancenido, Suchon Pongsopitsin Client: TMB Bank Public Company Limited Client Team: Paradai Theerathada, Sakchai Sriwatthanapitikul, Nopawan Saengteerakij, Thatchakorn Prutnoppadol, Mallika Uswachoke, Radomdej Taksana, Aree Vesvijak, Jumpol Kwangosen, Saranyoo Nantanawanit, Siriporn Lerdapirangsi Fai-Fah Kids: Master Thanakan Namunmong, Chisanu Kiatsuranayon, Sirinart Naksombhob, Kamolthat Sutat Na Ayudhya Local Architect: 365COOP Company Limited
Étiquettes Architecture Bangkok Design Fai Fah centre Spark youth centre