Whether or not architecture actually has the power to change a life will continue to remain a topic of debate, but this community arts and learning center in Bangkok, which serves underprivileged children and teenagers, is an inspired attempt.
Funded by Thailand’s TMB Bank, Fai Fah, or “light energy,” is a program for creative learning in a residential Bangkok neighborhood, housed in a refurbished space overseen by the Beijing-based architectural practice Spark—which employed geometric volumes and a profusion of color to delineate the five-floor structure into a series of airy, lively backdrops for arts and education instruction. An art studio, library, gallery, dance studio and rooftop garden—and an impossibly sunny, attention-seeking Swiss cheese-like latticework element on the building’s facade—were arrived at after Spark solicited input from the center’s volunteer staff and children and teens who attend the program.
Paradai Theerathada, Head of Corporate Communications at TMB Bank said, “Spark’s workshops with the Fai-Fah children were inspiring; they gave the children a great sense of accomplishment from being involved in the design process for such a large-scale, tangible project. Spark’s unique interpretation of Fai-Fah propels the imagination of the young and old alike, and inspires the residents and children in the communities to look at ordinary things in extraordinary ways.”