Chatpong Chuenrudeemol has made a career from what he affectionally refers to as “Bangkok Bastards.” Across Thailand’s biggest city, the Chat Architects founder has adapted vernacular architecture with ingenuity and flair, ranging from staircases “bastardized” to house elegant retail stalls or residential windows jerry-rigged — with surprising grace — to support drying racks for clothes. Southeast of the bustling capital, however, Chuenrudeemol and co. have turned their gimlet eye to a very different context, re-imagining a traditional oyster-fishing pavilion as a rural eco-tourism destination.
Situated just off the coast of a small fishing village in Chonburi Province, the Angsila Oyster Scaffolding Pavilion aims to help rekindle a threatened local tradition and a faltering seaside economy. Named for the nearby village that once served as a hub for Thailand’s formerly thriving oyster trade, the structure is designed to host workshops that combine an intimate and educational look at on-site shellfish cultivation and harvesting — led by local fishers — with a unique al fresco dining experience.
True to the Chat Architects ethos, the Angsila oyster pavilion is a bastard in its own right. Inspired by the bamboo scaffolds traditionally used for oyster harvesting, the simple design adapts the local vernacular into an eye-catching hospitality venue, accented by its dramatic pitched roofs and red agricultural tarps (which are commonly used at nearby plant nurseries).
Rising above the shallow coastal waters, the pavilion was constructed by Angsila fishers, using the same methods and materials as the neighbouring harvesting stations. Individual bamboo columns were manually driven into the aquatic soil, while the structure above was tied together using car seatbelts, which were rejected from nearby automotive factories for being discoloured — and sourced at a steep discount.
It also provides a civic and economic function. In a landscape devastated by industrial pollution and degraded water quality, the pavilion’s simple program fosters environmental awareness. When not in use as a venue for visitors, the platform becomes a community site for recreational fishing and local gatherings. And for a boutique, research-driven architecture firm, the Angsila Oyster Scaffolding Pavilion shows the nobility in being a bastard.
Chat Architects unveil an artful “bastardization” of a traditional oyster fishing venue in the Gulf of Thailand.