Urban Nexus // Student Exchange Program on the Urban Nexus Approach in Housing Design
By Ruth Erlbeck, Ralph Trosse, Rashane Sala-Ngarm (GIZ Project Integrated Resource Management in Asian cites: the Urban Nexus). This article introduces a student exchange programme for Architecture and Engineering students from Thailand and the Philippines to learn about applying the Urban Nexus approach in energy efficient low cost housing design through the topic of “Micro-architecture”. This university network is supposed to continue after the end of the project duration of the Urban Nexus and aims at involving more universities within Thailand, the Philippines and beyond.
The Urban Nexus Project sees the “Strategic Partnership” (Sustainable Development Goals -SDG 17) with academe as a vehicle to strenghten the mainstreaming of the Nexus approach as students, teachers, trainers and professors are natural multipliers of innovation.
During the 8th Regional Workshop on Urban Nexus held in November 2018, two of the projects’ academic partners; Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) of the Philippines and King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) of Thailand, signed a collaboration MOU and announced their student exchange program within the framework of the Urban Nexus.
The student exchange program between the two institutions aims to provide the opportunity for Architecture and Engineering students from Thailand and Philippines to learn about the integrated approach in energy efficient low cost housing design through the topic of “Micro-architecture” – focusing on resource efficiency and future profiles of engineers and architects in a more complex world with dwindling natural resources. The students form mixed Thai/Philippine working groups to design their version of sustainable low cost housing – allowing the students to work in an inter-cultural setting and also learn how could or should the culture and norm of each country be reflected in the design. After having worked on the design for 1 week, each group presents their design to GIZ experts, KMUTT and BISCAST professors, and other relevant guests such as experts from other Universities, the National Housing Authority and the city.
The “first half” of the exchange program took place in Bangkok, Thailand between January 19th-25th, 2019, hosted by School of Architecture and Design (SoA+D), KMUTT. Sponsored by GIZ Nexus project, 6 BISCAST students and 2 professors travelled to Bangkok and accommodated at the KMUTT Bang Khun Tien University Campus.
The students formed groups and were given introduction on the GIZ Nexus project as well as lectured on the topics of Study of Space Components, Requirements for Low income housing, CCRPH and relevant Nexus components. The Students also had field trips to Thailand National Housing Authority’s Din Deang Low Cost Housing Complex as well as cultural buildings in Nang Lerng.
Within the short period of 1 week, the groups of students were able to design and produce commendable models of sustainable low-cost housing in the context of Thailand NHA Din Deang housing complex. The designs and models were presented to the above-mentioned audience on 25th January 2019 at KMUTT’s Knowledge Exchange (KX) Building.
The “second half” of the exchange program will take place in Naga City, Philippines in May 2019. The students from KMUTT will have the opportunity to go through similar exercise – in the Philippines context profiting from the experiences and best practice of BISCAST regarding the innovative and awarded Climate Change Resilient Pilot House (CCRPH) built by BISCAST with the support of GIZ. Moreover, they will indulge in the Sustainable Urban Development Plan for Naga City providing visions how to develop Naga City up to 2040 within an all-inclusive stakeholder approach with BISCAST as input giving academe within a design thinking approach.