Collaboration and Participation in Architectural Design: Lesson Learnt from Building a Bamboo Pavilion with Indigenous Karen

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Sadanu Sukkasame
Mustafa Alhashimy


The study of the participatory process in architectural design has been discussed for decades, in which the user is directly involved in the design and decision-making in the design process. The collaborative design process is not just a way to influence building form, but it also indicates the dimensions of users and participants. From academic cooperation in the year 2019-2020 between the School of Architecture, Bangkok University and School of Design and the Built Environment, Curtin University, Australia, has an agreement to study and work together for a period of 10 weeks, focusing on collaboration and participation in the construction of an embroidery bamboo pavilion together with the Karen villagers in Banggloy village, Huai Mae Phrieng Subdistrict, Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi Province. This paper focuses on explaining and discussing the process of collaboration and participation in the design and construction of architecture with the Karen people rather than the results of building construction or building form. The methodology of cooperative inquiry draws on experiential knowing which is through a direct face-to-face encounter with the Karen people; place and culture. The practical outcome of the process is a part of the life experience and collaborative practice between students, both universities and the indigenous Karen. Our learning process involves a much number of closer relationships, providing significant knowledge of person through a reciprocal encounter between people and people, and people and the environment. The limitation of the process is time-consuming, financial cost, and the difference of knowledge background of participants. Also, language communication is a significant challenge. It should be bear in mind that the final product was shaped in respect to all opinions, especially of those who will be regularly occupying the space.


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