Supermachine Studio has transformed a drab old dormitory into a vibrant learning environment that will inspire students in their out-of-the-classroom activities.
The Student Activity Center (SAC) at Bangkok University is one of the most challenging projects that multi-disciplinary design studio Supermachine Studio undertook on campus (out of quite a number of projects they already did for the university). This is not only due to the complexity of the project but also because of the project’s location – in a 20-year-old building that used to be a dormitory. It is the most drastic structural transformation the designers have done to date.
SAC consists of a diverse range of suites and facility spaces; from a photo studio, a music rehearsal room, a Thai dance club and several meeting rooms to the university’s cheerleader training hall. All these student facility spaces had to be accommodated into the existing 2200-sq-m structure. The old building was a 32-room dormitory interspersed with 12 compact courtyards. The 90-m-long building was low, dark and damaged from the great flood in Thailand in 2011. The main operation was to merge two gable roofs into a new single roof with a new structure to make the space more liveable for the increasing number of users. The outer skin of the building is re-clad throughout with cedar shingles.
Half of the inner space was kept intact but was vibrantly repainted: with corridors in sunshine yellow and four voids gaining attention with their purple, green, pink and turquoise hues. Natural light is brought in through the void skylights to make sure that the new space is bright enough. At the rear end of the 90-m-long building, a completely new 16-m-high structure was added to house the gym and training hall for the university’s famous cheerleader squad.
During development, the elongated building was termed ‘Toblerone’ and – now SAC – has been transformed from a simple structure dorm into a complex public building all housed under one roof. The designers of Supermachine Studio prove that architecture also can be ‘recycled’.
Images courtesy of Wison Tungthunya