Sunday, December 3, 2017

"M a y   t h e   gravity   b e   w i t h   you"

In these universe, gravity is one of the great nature force, 
best defined in the realm of science as a push or pull that can redirect an object’s movement.
Nowadays, as a hiker, when we go through nature; we go withstand gravity. 
People always experience hiking against gravity with long period of times; for instance 3days - 5days. 
But my design is drifting into the wild through gravitational landscape
in short and sweet by using gravitational force to create new experience. 

My site is “Kao Luang National Park” located in Nakorn Si Tammarat province, down to the south of Thailand.
The national park named after the tallest mountain of southern Thailand which is Kao Luang. 

The park covers an area of 570 sq km. with a great variety of wildlife, including forests, waterfalls and mountains 
that has several hills with quite steep slopes and multiple water corridors. 
Geologically, this mountain consists of granite core under losses soils. On steep slopes, the soil covering the mountains cam cause landslides when soaked with rainwater. 

However, people are not really use this physical geographic as full recreational potential for outdoor activities. The only activities that I’ve seen and experience so far is nature appreciated hiking. and for this activity we use forest and water just only for support hiking experience, using tree for shelter at night, water for survive; drinking, cleaning, taking shower, etc.. 
As in the beginning of this semester, our team had a chance to hike in Kao Luang national park. The trail we walked looked like horseshoes; means that starting and ending was not the same place. We hiked cross a 800 msl mountain from Wang Long to Ai Kiew waterfall. As you can see on my route section,

there’s wide variation of forest with a lot of small stream lines along the trail we passed by. I divided them by the change of elevations and surroundings. First starting point has a lot of high rock with big steam lines. But then when we hiked up a little bit higher elevation which is about 250-400 meters above sea levels, it had less rock and the ground mostly covered with thick and full-nutrient soil.

Another big different part of this trail was the campsite, comparing first and second it was totally like day & night. 
Our First campsite was closed by small water corridor called “ห้วยเย็น” settled on almost flat ground and the weather was chill, not so windy. Then on the other hand, our second night was like a nightmare. It was on the ridge of “ผาเหยียบเมฆ” (tread on the cloud cliff); super windy, very steep slopes with a few trees. Some of us had to sleep on the ground. 

To sum up, we hiked quite high elevation level, so it had low level of water corridor.  The water steam was very low, so activity we can do was appreciated and look around / taking photos. And a whole trail was about 32 kilometers which actually it was a 4-5 days trip but anyway we loved to break the record, in the end we made it in 3 days and 2 nights. 

Personally, I’m interesting in outdoor activities, and challenging myself to expand my limitation. 
Then, I begun myself with digging and studying how human perceive experience 
and what we gained from challenge activities. 

The activities refers to adventure sports like scuba diving, mountain biking, rock climbing, mountaineering, or kayaking, etc. What these endeavors have in common is a degree of risk, uncertainty and self-discovery. One things I found and sounds interesting to me is “These kinda of activities contributes A SHOT OF EXCITEMENT;  A SPLIT SECOND OF MOMENT IN ACTION, in which related to several factors, ranging from the increased adrenaline rush all the way to positive mental and physical health aspects of participating in an extreme sport.

Nonetheless, these type of recreation has barely operated in Kao-luang national park. So I started questioning myself.. “what would it be, if we combine nature appreciation with extreme recreation become a trail courses that people can come and discover it themselves.” I see a potential possibility to redesign this steams and waterfall corridor in order to allow more people to visit. And so I played my design with gravity of Kao luang’s geography and potential energy from water corridors in order to create rapid experience of Kao Luang’s streams.

So it comes to my selected site, which located nearby Phrom Lok waterfalls; a little bit down from Ai Kiew waterfalls. 
The reason that I did not choose previous trail because it did not seem to be the best fit for shot excitement experience; according to elevation gained, possible campsite and distances. 
I would like to called this “first gravitational-extreme recreation route”.  
The whole distance of this course (all the way up and down back to the ground) is 5.22 kilometer. The elevation gained was just only about 250 msl from the ground. 
My design can categorize into four types; Camping, Dropping, Swift but smooth and Resting. This map indicated where my design could be installed. From zero to 253 msl, same height as Baiyokk tower 84 floors, the course has variation of slope and ecology system which people can appreciate along and it can be widened divide into 6 parts based on watershed. At the top of the course, about 253 mean sea level, the preparation area provide with expert staffs and essential facilities such as first-aid station, bathroom, changing room, storages and the start point of journey. 

Then when people begin their journey, they will meet the first “Dropping” 

where use rock check dam integrated wood structure in order to stabilize mountain steams, slowing down the water current and then increasing rapid in the edge of check dam before drop. Basically, check dams are made of a variety of materials, mostly cheap and accessible materials such as rocks, gravels, logs and sandbags. 
Of these, rock are usually use for permanent check dam. 

Check dams are not only a highly effective practice to reduce flow velocities in channels , but also store a small amount of sediment and counteract erosion. Well-built check dams can be 70 to 80 percent effective in trapping sediment and last 15 to 30 years. Moreover, the dams themselves are simple to construct and do not rely on advanced technologies. 


Then kayaking along the steam for 700 meters, the kayakers will meet “mini-Resting” where they can taking a break for fuel body with snack. A whole resting decks are built with bamboo. 


For the construction part, it use 20 cm diameter- Dendocalamus or Pai Tong with 3.6 meter long for its frame and use 10cm diameter-Pai Lieng with 4.1 meter long for the flooring. To joint them together, I would use steel or vegetal cord instead of wood nails which will cause the bamboo split. 

In construction, using bamboo nodes is very critical. Bamboo columns or beams need to have a node at both ends, otherwise the pressure of a structure on the joint may crush the bamboo. 

Continuing to the forth stage of journey 580 meters from the mini-Resting, people can stop by camping and then alternate their journey from wet to dry. Changing the experience within 220 meters, people can hiking up the top of 234 mountain which provide a particular mountain top experience in the tropical rainforest. The observation tower creates unique opportunity to see above the canopy and experience the stunning nature of the preserved tropical rainforest from different perspective. 

And another experience that people will perceive on this journey is “Swift but smooth”. 

From the top to the bottom, the direction of water current flow depends on topography. and variation of elevations create turbulence flow and hydraulic jump. The current can become dangerous when the water downstream of the tailwater is too deep for a fully developed hydraulic jump to form.  As well as the downstream turbulence can cause damage and also degradation of channel banks. So my design is to construct water-flow ramp to protect kayak’s bottom when people go by water through the flow and the jump. So I designed to put them where water flows downstream to the existing rock which cause hydraulic jump spots. And the ramp could be built by bamboo, like the resting deck.

F i n a l é

"Gravity is a quality of all matter in the universe"

It keeps the moon orbiting around the Earth. The Earth and the other planets orbiting around the Sun. 
It makes our feet able to touch the dirt and makes our body fall to the ground.
On the other hand, Extreme recreational activities portray the most striking example of acts that go against our natural human instincts, “Fear" which are designed to secure us from dangers. It is a normal human emotional reaction; it is a built-in survival mechanism we are all equipped with. Regardless of this fact, our brain is also equipped with reward mechanisms that are activated when we are subjected to extreme experiences.
Then as a designer, manipulation of gravity and landscape together is to maximize through experience and allow more equipment accessibility to variation of extreme recreation.