We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Student winner of our The Legendary Highway 14 Tower competition – Natthaphat Chotananwut from Thailand!

Natthaphat Chotananwut

Please tell us about your company (when it was founded, where it is based, how many employees, etc) Alternatively, if you do not have a company, please give us some insights on your own professional/academia background.

I’m a second-year student from INDA (International Program in Design and Architecture, Chulalongkorn University). It is an architecture school at the heart of Bangkok, but with many connections around the globe. Our professors are from different horizons and our studio projects are influenced by their background as architects and professors who have practiced in different environments and architecture cultures. It is a very special place for me, where I can develop my creativity through research and design experimentations.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been Involved?

Students at INDA are regularly invited to participate in competitions, and as a second year student, I already participated in two of them: this one about The Legendary Highway 14 Tower, and to the third edition of Museum of Emotions, also organized by Buildner. Other than that, my projects have mostly been academic, and I still have a long way to go in my architectural journey.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

I've always fantasized about the stories that humanity has created; they can be either positive, negative; raise awareness on a problem; refer to traditions, special events, or crisis. Through architecture, these stories take a physical form. That is how I consider architecture, from its creation to its existence. This perfect mixture between story and reality is what made me curious about architecture. As architects, our role is to find a balance between the imaginary and the problems that we have to solve. It's our task to " provoke these values in a narrative that would directly benefit to the society we live in.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Before being a competitive space, an architecture competition is a hub where stories and possibilities can be shared. As a student, this competition provided me with an opportunity to expand my understanding of the current situation, in a site that I might never have had a chance to work with. The competition brief was our studio brief, and it was an excellent project to explore the unknown while proposing the most site-specific response possible for this site.

Now, I have learned a lot about a place that I did not know before, and my project is an interpretation of all that I learned about South Dakota. I really enjoyed trying to resolve issues that I could find and analyze, and I am now very happy to share my opinion with the people who are closely concerned by these issues.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Observing and absorbing the context in which you work is one of the most valuable things you can do. It helps you to structure and strengthen the stories that you want to share. It is also a good way to raise awareness about what you think matters the most, and to share it with the public. Working with what already exists enables you to envision new possibilities and solutions.

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