Land Port - The Freight Yard Market-Town of Vientiane
Thesis Supervisor: Tiah Nan Chyuan
The thesis is interested in exploring the architecture of a rural-international network. Inspired by the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia. The project sites itself in Laos, a developing nation and one of the first few countries that is already nearly completion of the railway construction in 2021.Though it aims to be mutually beneficial project for both China and Laos, it has generated a
high amount of controversies regarding its management, disruption to local livelihood and possible exploitation. My thesis will aim to explore this context through the lenses of the locals, the Laotian government and Chinese developers, and attempt to develop an architecture that can balance their interests against each other and create a more holistic development for Laos.
The local Laotians seem to be the ones that are getting the short end of the stick, often being evicted from their homes to make way for these new Chinese developments.
While they do fear being displaced by the influx of Chinese, they also recognise the potential opportunities they bring and many locals began learning their culture, language and sending their children to study in China.
What they now need to learn is to capitalise on these opportunities that the new railway brings and develop their local businesses, and bring Laotian products and culture to the international stage.
The building starts as a scaffold that develops over time as its inhabitants' business grows, filling up with more spaces.
Laos is a landlocked country without a natural trading harbour. The Laotian government are hopes that the new railway will turn their country into a “land-linked” economic hub and the trade would help to develop their local manufacturing industries.
However, a large population of its locals still live in rural environment, unable to utilise the newer developments. In response, the Laotian government is working together with Chinese developers to create a new sub-urban community in Vientiane centered around trade and the railway - The Freight Yard Market Town of Vientiane.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative was already surrounded by wide amount of controversies since its conception, as a means to spread its geopolitical influence, as well as acquire resources to fuel its growing economy.
Laos, is a growing trading partner of China’s and also a destination for their foreign investment. However, these investments often poorly received by the locals, who by and large still prefer their traditional commercial spaces as opposed to new Chinese developments.
The Chinese attempts to create a distributed Freight Yard network that disassembles the functions within the yard into smaller warehouse clusters. Each cluster can be integrated with the local community and engage locals in the operation and management of the railway yard.