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ICAADE 2015 – 1st International Conference of amphibious architecture, design and engineering

20 - 30 August 2015, Bangkok, Thailand

The chance to go to Bangkok to this conference was unique. The right people at the right place and with the right subject: a fantastic opportunity to get to know the relevant people and discuss and learn from each other in the course of the conference.

A workshop (20.-25.08.2015) preceded the conference and was jointly organized by Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok), UNESCO-IHE and TU Delft. The workshop dealt with three different locations in the north of Bangkok (Ayutthaya Province). They differed in their state of urbanization (rural to pre-urban). The groups were interdisciplinary (architects/urban planners and hydro-engineers) and thus could perform locally adapted solutions for a more amphibious waterscape. The workshop was set up with different methods of knowledge production: keynotes, input-pitchers, group work, single work, charrette and presentations. The instructors are relevant for my PhD in regard to the knowledge and the understanding of the general subject so it was really a useful participation in the workshop, in which I also have been invited to give a presentation about the urban planning and design in Bangkok.

The conference itself was the first of its kind and focused on the above mentioned disciplines. About 50 participants joined to discuss in various sessions different perspectives on the amphibious space. I presented my research design and received short, but valuable feedback on this to further improve the PhD-research. I connected to architects, planners and government administration staff from Thailand to improve my network in Bangkok. The proceedings are to be published soon with a conference paper on my research design. The set up of the conference was different than usual: Of course traditional thai food and desserts were served, but the atmospheric setting was in a more hidden area of Bangkok, where a University established a comprehensive concept of the campus. A lake, bamboo gardens and buildings, joint offices and learning spaces for professionals and students, and teaching of traditional arts and culture provided the unusual background of the conference.  Together with the rule of not wearing shoes in the rooms all participants were grounded similarly. These details may not be of scientific interest, but they formed the ground for getting to know each other on the first conference on this subject with the aim of further collaboration. The organizers want to form an Amphibious Alliance to exchange knowledge and experience.

Benjamin Casper
PhD student
PhD project: “Transformation of urban structure alongside the waterways in Bangkok to a more sustainable amphibious living space”

Institute of Geography