The Ban Bat community in Bangkok is one of the oldest and best known urban OTOP in the capital (One Tambon - province - One Product). For more than a century residents have been producing monk’s bowls following the methods inherited from the Buddhist tradition: the entire process is carried out by hand and the craft is transmitted through generations. As cheaper, industrial bowls from China are overtaking the everyday market, Ban Bat’s residents are struggling to reinvent their economy, catering to local and foreign tourism in order to preserve their traditions and identity while upgrading their precarious living conditions.
This pilot project creates a new entrance gate to the main Soi. This public space provides shade, greenery and simple urban furniture, a space of rest for locals and visitors alike. A large mural, as well as detailed panels, introduce visitors to the history of the community and the process of bat-making while facilitating their navigation with the aid of clear maps and legends. The main structure is inspired by the metal-working techniques of the local artisans which allowed for their direct involvement in the construction process and ensure ease of maintenance with the community’s own resources. Special construction details have been developed in collaboration with Bangkok-based StudioMake to teach the students simple metal-work procedures, involving everyone in the construction while maintaining a safe margin of control on the precision of execution. In particular, a plug-weld joint connects all the main pieces together, avoiding the need for neat surface welds.