Sunday, March 23, 2014

Final Presentation: Language of Thai Architecture

Thai architecture could be interpreted as language. One building is a compound set of paragraphs, sentences, words and letters that composing a story. A building can tell matter of fact and matter of concern by Latour. The hidden story behind its skin origin, culture, period, status, hierarchy, duty, power and wealthy.

One story consists of many paragraphs and in one paragraph there are many sentences that narrate different stories and each sentences is a compound of many words. Each word has different meaning and this meaning comes from letters that have different roots combining together to create one meaning.

Every element that is selected to compose a story is crucial to shape the right story.

So if architecture is a language then one must be able to speak it.
The dictionary was designed in 3 dimensional space as Thai architecture has much more dimensions than language. Structure of the dictionary is arranged by resolution of the elements, which are building block, ornament, pattern, material and finish consecutively.

‘Represents a thing in all its complexity’ from Latour’s lecture.  A thing doesn’t have only matter of fact but also contradictory and controversial natures of matter of concern.  A gable of a palace can tell both status, power, hierarchy, wealthy of the owner and art and culture, style, influence, economic in that period. Every element in Thai architecture communicates differently. If one single primary element of Thai pattern changes, the entire meaning and possession will change.

A word in dictionary presents visual, name and root of the element. The position and accessibility of it presents hierarchy and rule that acquired from the architecture’s strict grammar.

Showing all its complexity one can’t read it. Gombrich’s the perception of order explains about the different between seeing, looking, attending and reading. Eyes select only some part to read to attend to look and to see. The resolution of seeing ability decreases respectively to the level of contemporary disable that specific part.

These varieties of visions can guide and teach the audience through the strict grammar.

Language is always a collage, borrowing. It is constant evolution but usually have a source. The Sanphet Maha Prasat Throne Hall is one of the significant buildings in Ayutthaya both political and architecture. As a book the palace is a fascinating story that now becomes a lost book. Paradox occurs due to interpretations were made.

Any translation has mistake but in mistake everything is deviated. Archarological evidences, record, depiction, book, illustration, other Throne hall and replica are studied to visualize matter of fact and matter of concern of this throne hall.
The throne hall was built by Somdet Phra Boromma Trilokkanat in 1991 B.E. and renovated in 2320 B.E. during Somdet Phrachaoyuhua Borommakot Period.

  • Only based of the structure is left nowadays and even it located next to Wat Pha Sri Sabphet but only few tourists visited here.
  • The filled ground level misunderstood the visitors. It was filled during the grand palace excavation in Rama V period.
  •  The accessibility was divided into three levels, the king, Royalties and nobles.
  • In the past this throne hall was used to administer, receive envoys and arranged big ceremony such as coronation.
  • Throne and Umbrella are the most significant elements in the grand palace throne hall. They are used to identify grand palace and palace.
  • Wall is load barring wall. It was influenced from western during late Ayutthaya period.
  • Roof structure called ‘Ma Tang Mai. Only temple and palace can use this structure. It is adaptation from Khmer’s stone structure.
  • Garuda is symbolic of ‘King is demi god’ derived from Brahmin.
  • Layer roof with delicate Kranok pattern indicates the owner dignity. The top peak roof called ‘Yod Prasat’. It is symbol of grand palace throne hall and representing the importance part in this throne hall.

The drawing of ‘the past’ only bases on Prof. Dr. Santi Leksukhum’s hypothesis illustration which is one’s interpretation. Then what is the level of tolerance? How much deviation is acceptable? And which one is the most reliable?

Any language is in constant evolution and change. It is natural of it to evolve. This tolerance needs to be regulated by a specific institution for a specific language.
Thai language is administered by The Royal Institute, Rajchabandittayasatan.
The obligation of the institute is to act as consultant on academic matter,
to compile dictionaries, encyclopedias, terminologies and coin new words
and to establish criteria of Thai usage in order to preserve and promote Thai language.

Likewise, This virtual space acts as consultant on academic matter. It allows archeologists to explore and share their experience to find the tolerance, deviation, regulation, change and evolution of the rich Thai architecture language and also to preserve and promote the language.

In the space audiences will translate their ideas to 3d virtual model using translating tools.  Due to regularness of Thai architecture it can be translated by many tools one is Thai typewriter.

Typewriter can be interpreted as translating tool that translates idea, intangible, to physical, typed paper. To translate the idea the typist has to learn the language.

  •         Ability to write the language
  •         Ability to type and cognitive
The typewriter

  •         Ability to translate to typography

  •          Ability to read and understand the meaning
During the invention of Thai typewriter two Thai consonants were eliminated because of not having enough keys. The revolution of Thai was the result of translating English typewriter to Thai typewriter and these two alphabets officially disappear from Thai language.

However Typewriter is just an example of all translating tool. This virtual 3d diagram shows the differences between different means of expression. Body languages, verbal, are the most fundamental tools that require the least learning process. The datascape manifests the process of translating idea to physical through wide range of tools both accessibility and sensibility.

The virtual space will teach its language by displaying the learning process step by step according to position of the audience that will be detected by GPS tracker.

Goggle is mediator that leads audience to experience the augmented reality by taking images with video camera, modifying the image based on virtual space and input action then real time displaying it on glasses.

The goggle is attached with motion capture system for real-time analysis of hand movements using infrared cameras.

The augmented space will give the audience pre-conceive idea of what this space does and how to use it before entering.

The circulation of the audience will be controlled by virtual architecture that real time changing to lead the audience through the sequence of perception.

The first stage, the space displays various translating tools. The audience can explore different tools and learn language of each tool before choosing a tool to work with.

Different tools require different language and grammar. For Thai typewriter, it requires abilities to read and type Thai. 

The audience will be taught Thai name of every single element.    

To exploring Thai architecture the audience have to type the virtual typewriter to create 3d space. Using written language to translate your idea.

After learn its language, the typewriter will circulate around that person. This interface allows the audience access to the dictionary to use as reference while exploring the space.
Next sequence, the audience will enter to three-dimensional dictionary. The visitor will learn and understand relationship and rule of each element. To study the element in details, the interface allows to access the specific elements by rearrange the specific part closer the person.

Then, the visitor can explore and experiment Thai architecture. While still access to the dictionary with the interface that circulate around each person

While exploring the regularness of Thai architecture, the grammar will auto correct the composing and also allow revolution of Thai architecture by adding and subtraction the dictionary.

Thanks to the regularness of Thai architecture margin of auto correct and revolution can be found.

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