Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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The Thai Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo was basically similar to that of the 1992 World Expo in Spain; both exhibited traditional elements of Thai architecture without any modern transformation. The inappropriate application of past Thai characteristics in contemporary architecture, particularly in buildings of national significance, has been widely criticized. Yet, there have been no obvious architectural solutions to the demand for a modern Thai architectural identity. This research is undertaken with the following objectives: 1) To investigate the appropriateness of current Thai architectural identity in modern society; 2) To seek guidelines for the creation of a modern Thai architectural identity, taking into consideration various determining factors, especially the concept of green architecture and glocalization; 3) To suggest development approaches for sustaining the creation of identity; 4) To extend the outcome of the development of a modern Thai architectural identity toward opportunities for supporting the creative economy. Thus, in this study physical surveys of buildings with various Thai characteristics, together with document research, were conducted with the intention of setting up information bases for further formation of theoretical and analytical frameworks, as well as guidelines for the creation and development of a Thai architectural identity for a modern society, through modeling investigations. It is expected that this research will reveal that the various applications of Thai architectural characteristics are not particularly appropriate to the context of present society; neither the traditional and applied Thai architectural styles nor the abstraction of aesthetic feature approach. These findings will point towards the reinvention of a modern Thai architectural identity amid the trend of global architecture. Current factors--economic, social, cultural and technological--in the modern world have to converge with past deep-rooted cultural factors in an attempt to create a Thai architectural identity. In this context, there have to be interrelationships between appearance and inherent wisdom. Concurrently, various approaches have to be investigated to promote the sustainable development of identity: for example, the generation of public consciousness, the reform of the education system, the establishment of an Institute for Research and Development of Modern Thai Architectural Identity, the stimulation of concern for identity among practitioners, and the support and spirit enhancement of those with outstanding achievements in design and research. This research will also identify opportunities for the output of the creation of a Thai architectural identity to support the growth of the creative economy. Finally, a series of research questions to be comprehensively addressed in the future are formulated.

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