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Angsila Oyster Scaffolding Pavilion: Revitalising Communities Through Eco-tourism

How can design contribute to environmental conservation and create sustainable communities? This is a question explored by Chat Architects, an architectural firm based in Chonburi province in Thailand.

Chat Architects’ latest project – the Angsila Oyster Scaffolding Pavilion – addresses socio-economic and environmental challenges faced by Thailand’s Angsila community, a small fishing town which has struggled for decades to sustain their way of life due to pollution of its rivers and canals from nearby factories and suburbs. 

Located off the coast of the historic fishing village in Chonburi Province, the Angsila Oyster Scaffolding Pavilion combines ecotourism with sustainable architecture, showcasing how design can play a pivotal role in community revitalisation. The pavilion draws inspiration from traditional bamboo scaffolding used in oyster cultivation, with spaces where groups of visitors can handpick oysters directly from the ocean below. The seafood is then prepared fresh to eat, offering visitors a sea-to-table dining experience amidst a stunning coastal setting. 

This unique setup allows Angsila fishermen to share their history and oyster cultivation heritage in a new and interactive way. It also helps them to campaign for the protection of Angsila Bay’s delicate coastal ecology. When not used as a tasting pavilion for visitors, the covered platforms double as recreational fishing piers for the community, where they can catch local fish in the clean, shellfish-filtered waters surrounding the oyster and mussel bundles below. 

In line with its purpose, the pavilion design uses every day, inexpensive and sustainable materials, as well as local labour and construction techniques. Fishermen drive bamboo columns into the ocean floor without the use of power tools, which they then tie up using rejected car seatbelts. The light-filtering agricultural tarp, commonly used in nearby nurseries, provides shade from the sun whilst allowing passage of ocean breezes. 

Text by:
Eris Choo
24 April 2024