Bangkok Tree Image by Akkara Naktamna

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CURARTISTRY: Trees in Bangkok

Monday 10 – Friday 21 December 2018

The Bangkok Visiting School is now fully subscribed.

The Bangkok Visiting School will take place this year from 10-21 December 2018. It will continue its investigation of everyday life in Bangkok. We wish to develop artistic and architectural ways of enabling students to work upon a particular issue which arises for them out of their exploration of Bangkok. This in turn is based on the trips and the visits which the school will have organised. Last year, the students showed increasing confidence and the result was a month long exhibition in Bangkok. This year the school is focusing on the role of trees in the city. We find that trees are everywhere in cities but curiously they attract little scholarly architectural or artistic attention.

The first part of the course will consist in visits to wooded areas in Bangkok, trees in public spaces and also to single trees. We will be asking questions at different scales: what is the role of trees in Bangkok in general? How do the inhabitants of Bangkok react to particular trees? How do trees affect different types of space? What is the relationship of trees to roads? How do parks and other public spaces treat their trees? How do the seasons of the tree affect the appearance of the city? What is the role of trees in private gardens? Is there a characteristic view of wood in Bangkok? What about dead trees and fake trees?

There are other more indirect relations. What do the trees do to the light in Bangkok? How do the trees differ at different phases of day and night? We are also concerned with how the city manages, conserves and secures the future of the trees in Bangkok. We are interested in how the management of trees involves minor and major tree surgery. In many cities, the practice of pollarding has a dramatic effect on the tree and on its appearance. We will be able to document this and to produce a critique of its uncontrolled use. What is an intelligent way to look after urban trees. Beyond this, we are interested in the relations of citizens to trees on the individual or group bases. What uses are the trees put to in Bangkok in anything from children’s games to the provision of shade. What would happen if the use of tree was intensified and reproduced an urban forest?

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

The studio for the school will be based at the Montien Hotel which is only minutes from the sky train station Saladaeng on Silom Road, the underground station Sam Yan on Rama IV Road and Hua Lampong main railway station. We will be based here. This will be supplemented by many different visits as part of the students’ selecting the object or site that they wish to use in their work. Students are welcome to work individually or in a group. We have always encouraged both. We have developed over a few years a process which we call “curartistry”. By that we mean that the students should have the objective to become immerse in a particular issue or dimension of something they have experienced in the trips or in the topic of the workshop itself. We encourage students to write and rewrite until a particular object or installation emerges from redrafting their experience. The outcomes have typically taken the form of some elementary installations or constructions. In this sense, the work falls between art and architecture, or perhaps more accurately, it uses some of the habits of architectural students to produce something which is a draft of an art object. It also requires some skills of curatorship in deciding how an object or installation should be presented.

The school will be directed by Mark Cousins Director of History and Theory at the AA together with Chittawadi Chitrabongs, Assistant Professor at Chulalongkorn University and Jing Rakpanya Architectural Consultant in Bangkok. They both hold graduate degrees from the AA. They are assisted by Nattapong Phattanagosai and Duangporn Chanachai the architects and the founders of Cloud-Floor Company. Joining them will be two artists, Malissa Moore an artist whose current project includes photography of pollarded trees and Akkara Naktamna a street photographer and an editor of C-Type Magazine. For some of the time, they will be joined by Damnoen Techamai, Kornkamon and Kanyaphorn Kaewprasert  AA PhD students.

 We are delighted that this year we are being joined by an intermediate unit of the AA run by Sylvie Taher whose unit currently has the title “Nature in the City”. It is often remarked at the moment there is a dramatic increase of interests in this subject. Currently publishers are producing an enormous number of books on tree. This is also true in Thailand. We feel confident that the workshop feeds into an enormous potential interest. The tree puts its root into many different questions about the city. We advice potential students to book as early as possible in order to avoid disappointment.


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page. If you are not able to make an online application, email for instructions to pay by bank transfer. 

2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered to the programme. A CV or a portfolio is not required.

The Bangkok Visiting School is now fully subscribed.

All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After payment of fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.


The Montien Bangkok Hotel, 54 Surawongse Road, Bangkok 10500, Thailand.


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.

Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but accommodation options can be advised. Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and model making tools. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.


The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later)


Mark Cousins Director of History and Theory at the AA.

Chittawadi Chitrabongs, Assistant Professor at Chulalongkorn University.

Jing Rakpanya Architectural Consultant in Bangkok.


The Montien Hotel Bangkok 

Conduit House

Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University


Programme Heads
Mark Cousins
Jing Rakpanya
Chittawadi Chitrabongs

Bangkok Coordinators
Nattapong Phattanagosai
Duangporn Chanachai

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

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