Re-envisioning Public Space in the Age of Air Pollution
The Common Air-rea - Re-envisioning Public Space in the Age of Air Pollution - At the present, Bangkok, and other big cities around the world, are suffering from poor air quality which has affected the livelihood of their inhabitants. Such low quality of air is caused by invisible pollutants, including Particulate Matter (PM) smaller than 2.5 microns. A major contributor to air pollution is the emission from vehicles. Additionally, agricultural burning, forest fires, and industrial processes are also important emitters of airborne particulate matters. Air pollution is the cause of many illnesses such as respiratory and heart diseases, as well as lung cancer, leading to as many as 7 million deaths per year around the world. The air quality problem is an important challenge that must be addressed in order to improve the quality of life of city dwellers.
In order to address this challenge, Cloud-floor designed and built the Common Air-rea as space where we showcased possibilities in mitigating air pollution and improving the air quality in a semi-open public space as part of the Bangkok Design Week 2021. The challenge from the Creative Agency Economy (CEA) as the patron of the project was for Cloud-floor to create a space where visitors would be able to breathe cleaner air, reducing the risk of danger from tiny dust particles that were airborne outside, while still feeling as if they were in an open, public space.
The Common Air-rea served as an information center, a meeting point, and a resting area for the attendees of the Bangkok Design Week 2021. Additionally, this space was used as an experiment for an air purification mechanism that was powered by a hybrid power system, i.e. using solar power in conjunction with electricity from traditional sources. This space was enclosed by translucent, light-filtering curtains. They not only prevented air pollution from entering the inside environment but also served as a filtration system for light and heat from the outside environment. However, the curtains still allowed for daylight to enhance the visibility inside the building and to provide a sense of public-ness to space.
This green zone of the building consisted of air-purifying plants that had dust-retention abilities to capture airborne particles smaller than 10 microns and to retain other air pollutants. Moreover, the pavilion also contained plants that produced appealing scents, which helped create a more relaxing atmosphere to space.
Moreover, this building was also equipped with a technology that trapped dust particles and circulated purified air into the inside. There were no physical close-able doors, which provided a sense of openness and public to the attendees. Rather, we used the air curtain at the entrance and exit that helped control air circulation, preventing the unpurified air and pollution outside from flowing back into the building. A design combination of the enclosed structure, the green space, and the air purifying technology served as a prototype that opens new design possibilities for public spaces, e.g. a waiting area, a bus stop, an outdoor market, and in any public space that has a clear-air sanctuary for visitors.
The roof structure of the Common Air-rea was equipped with a solar energy system that enables the use of alternative energy in this building. The solar power was stored in batteries in order to be combined with electricity from traditional sources in order to power Common Air-rea’s air purification system, the air curtain, the lighting system, and the phone charging station during the Bangkok Design Week. This prototype can be scaled and further applied to other open-space settings.
Nattapong Phattanagosai, Donlaporn Chanachai, Oratai Taechamahapant,
Panisa Jermhansa, Chalinan Manoprasertkul
Kernel Design Co., Ltd.
Design Of Ventilation And
Solar Energy System Consultant
Graphic And Exhibition Design