The Metro-Forest Project
Discover The Metro-Forest Project by TK Studio, an urban forest park for ecological regeneration, that cultivates environmental awareness and educates visitors about local forest ecology.
The Metro-Forest Project is located at the eastern fringe of Bangkok, approximately 6 kilometers from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport. In early 2012, the design team was commissioned by the PTT Reforestation Institute to design an urban forest park for ecological regeneration, to cultivate environmental awareness and educate visitors about local forest ecology. Construction began in May 2013, where approximately 37,000 m3 of earthwork was introduced to create the engineered berms which topped with 6,000 m3 of high-quality soil mixed.
Within less than 2 hectares plot of PTT’s abandoned land, this project offers a unique kind of urban park in this metropolitan area; a forest-like atmosphere in a very small area. To create diverse forest ecology and stimulate plant growth, the reforestation technique of Dr. Akira Miyawaki was implemented. The layout of the species was carefully grouped according to successional rate and appropriate growing conditions. Species able to survive during intermittent flooding conditions were planted along the riparian edge. While stop the berms, a diverse mix of deciduous forest plants and lowland Dipterocarp cover the area.
Approximately 60,000 tree saplings of more than 279 unique species were planted. A planting density of 4 trees per square meter was used to encourage natural selection, following Darwinian evolutionary theory “the survival of the fittest”. In addition, the planting design was intended to create multiple layers of forest canopy as appear in nature.
Natural forests are known to have dense cano-pies, comprising of branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits. At the canopy level, planting at the optimal density and maintaining that density is essential to allow the saplings to flourish. After the canopy has reached maturation, the landscape architects intend to carve out a trail at the ground level to provide an experience revealing the understory.
The earthwork design serves as the backbone of the site’s new ecology and accommodates many design criteria including placing berms to direct seepage flow from the built waterfall through the berms’ channels. Beside the irrigation purpose, the berms were carefully located to improve site’s ventilation, to prevent outside pollution and to control ground level perspective.
The project is truly a public outreach commitment to inspire public awareness of urban forestry and the importance of environmental stewardship in Thailand. The indoor exhibition comprises basic knowledge about tree, forest, different types of indigenous forest in Thailand, plant’s habitat in association with place names, and last of all, a collection of reforestation techniques explored by the PTT Reforestation Institute over the past decades.
The outdoor exhibition, which covers the whole forest area, is intended to be constantly evolving. Therefore, the visitors will always be welcomed by “new” experiences during each visit, as the forest grew denser and habitat got more diverse over time. Able to experience the different levels of the canopy at the ground-level, along the skywalk, and within the observation tower, visitors will see Bangkok like never before.