MEGA Bangna FoodWalk
Mega FoodWalk is an extended semi-outdoor expansion zone at Megabangna shopping complex. Main contractors Ritta Co., Ltd. were commissioned through a tender process and worked alongside architects Foundry of Space (FOS) to complete the project.
Mega FoodWalk is controlled by the integration of landscape design and innovative engineering, resulting in a waterscape that is a successful catalyst of activities where adults can enjoy the atmosphere while children line up to use the interactive water features. The water features take advantage of the mall’s cooling system by tapping into the building’s chiller system through the heat exchange of its cold water pipes. The cool water flows along various features in the landscape as the changing physical form of a meandering flow, ripples and cascades of water delivers unique forms of water splash and an evaporative cooling effect at each bend.
Makakrai Jay Suthadarat from Foundry of Space (FOS) said: “The tropical climate of the location played a significant role in enforcing the design solution for weather protection. As the building is an open-air public building with an extensive area of courtyard and outdoor garden, ‘a big roof’, as we called it, was designed to cover all over the entire length and width of the central courtyard space, ensuring that the below space is weatherproof in all seasons. The roofing material is a mixture between transparent and solar-control solid polycarbonate panels, controlling sufficient volumes of sunlight for plants in the garden but not causing too much heat gain for human.”
User based landscape design creates a new way to experience both landscape and shops that are located at different levels. Amphitheatre seating with a genuine wood finish provides cosy spectator seating throughout the day and night, but more importantly serves as a generous crowd access to the lower level plaza from the high main shopping entrance.
Pathways are friendly to all users with gentle slopes that are handicap accessible. The landscape design is a very interactive and experimental space that encourages visitors to be in contact with its material design. The landscape for the Mega Food Walk is a remarkable design that attracts its visitors throughout the site, including the dancing fountain plaza at one terminus of the site extension.
“One of the key challenges we were facing in this project was the circulation connections,” said Makakrai. “The existing site condition was on the slope from the marginal area of the site ramping up five meters toward level one. To make it more complicated, there was a road tunnel, running across the site toward the existing underneath parking lots. Moreover, there are many walkways and channels on three different levels to be connected with the existing circulation system.
“To respond to those challenges with the holistic approach, we came up with a solution that could turn the challenges into a project’s key design element. A series of 1:15 sloping walkways are positioned continuously, descending gently down from upper to lower levels, to create a similar experience of ‘hill walk.’
“It effectively results in not only increased saleable areas on the lower floor but also an infinite loop of spiral circulation, circling endlessly on all four levels and seamlessly connecting to existing walkways in all directions at the same time.”
The project has recently been shortlisted for a World Architecture Festival Award in the Shopping Completed Building category.
Commenting on the award and the projects importance, Makakrai said: “Undoubtedly, this project has been one of the most successful and positive collaborations among every party involved. Having been chosen as a finalist at the WAF 2018, speaking as a project architect and on behalf of our visionary client and all collaborators, we are tremendously proud of being nominated among the best works from around the world.
“This project is by far FOS’s most significant exemplary work in terms of the office’s architectural philosophy and commitment to society. Capturing and intertwining flows of nature and culture together and then synthesising it into spaces and forms are the ways in which we try to conceptualise projects across the practice. And it is exemplified predominantly in this project. We also strongly believe that our architecture could generate more social interactions among people for the better and stronger community.”