Green Campus ”


Application of participatory process, “human-centered” design emphasis, and the concrete changes in physical by using the simple and yet economical and quick have altered Mahidol University from automotive campus to “A Promised Place to Live and Learn with Nature”, the model of “Green Campus” which encourages the learning and co-living of human and nature sustainably. Turning abandoned green space into living and recreational space, narrowing the main streets to be bicycle lanes and pavements, modifying the previous concrete fences into shady ramparts and ditch which connect the campus to the neighborhood, also the adjustment of campus entrance and the establishing of new learning center on the intersection of campus’s two main axis have made Mahidol University (Salaya Campus) a leading green campus in Thailand, acknowledged globally. Besides, it has set off the trend of green campus developing in Thailand and raised consciousness in the campus ownership among the neighboring community through the participatory process.


Context & Scope: The Alternation from Automotive Campus to Green Campus

Mahidol University is leading health science and medical school which prioritizes in raising the consciousness in social responsibility among the students. The main campus located in Salaya sub-district of Nakornpathom province. Due to the rapid expansion of the campus without explicit planning the campus has grown disorderly. The lack of green space and traffic system organizing caused more than 1,200 Rai (approx. 2,000,000 Sq.M.) of the campus was considered as automotive space. The campus had deficient space for facilitating the life quality of community and the recreational activities as they are “Spiritual Core” to students and staffs.

Therefore in 2007 Mahudol University has assigned Ashram of Community and Environmental Architect, Arsom Silp Institute of the Arts to design and redevelop the whole master plan to meet the direction and strategy of the campus development including the urgent project to solve the physical and environmental problems according to the development plan of master plan in long term.

The design team has set the project objective prioritizing mainly on “The Living” of students, faculties, and staffs. Those basic infrastructure developments are merely for solving the problem technically to support the learning and the living properly and sufficiently. Participatory process has been emphasized during public hearing and co-decision making of “Community” and university boards in order to raise the consciousness of ownership and co-learning and change campus’s physical environment substantially in good time.

Design Intent: A Promised Place to Live and Learn with Nature

The potential of the vast available space in Salaya campus allows it to have rather big portion of green space. But due to the disorder growth of the campus, much of those green spaces had not been utilized, became abandoned, and is separate from the educational facilities which were designed to prioritize vehicle access. The design team has thus set up the vision in master planning that is to drive Mahidol University to be “A Promised Place to Live and Learn with Nature”, the “Green Campus” which encourages the learning and co-living of human and nature sustainably through the campus development regarding its physical, society, and environment.

As a result, after the redevelopment of the campus’s master plan and surrounding, Mahidol University (Salaya Campus) has become widely acknowledged green campus both nationally and internationally. It is also put into ranking by Universitas Indonesia – UI Green University World Ranking 2012, into 36th in the world, 11th in Asia, and 1st in Thailand. And in the meantime, it has set off the trend of green campus developing in Thailand

Design Approach

  • Raising up “Morale and Spirit” in changing the physical of the campus rapidly – through Clean & Clear project which aimed to improve the decadent area in educational space of approx. 200 Rai (320,000 Sq.M.) to be lively and create learning atmosphere for students within limited budget.
  • Altering automotive campus to pedestrian and bicycle friendly campus – narrowing the main streets in the campus to be bicycle lanes, pavements, and make way for garden plot and planning to build up the parking facility in outer space in order to create the “Human-Centered” culture and return the shady green space for recreational activities to the campus.
  • Enhancing the image of “Green Campus” – improving the landscape of campus frontage to be earthen ramparts with shady plantings which is to create better scenery that is in harmony with the campus’s space. These ramparts also play an important role in efficient flood preventing during Thailand’s worst flood in 2011.
  • Founding “Spiritual Core” of the campus – building up “Mahidol Learning Center” to be a recreation center for students and staffs where the spiritual ceremony that concerns the living of all and the value of Mahidol University can also be held at the intersection of two main axis of the campus.
  • Revealing the potential of being large green campus of 1,200 Rai (approx. 2,000,000 Sq.M.) – Moving main campus entrance from Buddhamonthon 4 road to Borommaratchachonnani Road which is major route. Visitors will be able to sense the power of nature from 170 Rai – area (272,000 Sq.M.) of Siri Ruckhachati Nature Park and the atmosphere of “Green Campus” truly.
  • Promoting the importance of Siri Ruckhachati Nature Park, the campus’s arboretum, to be the international learning and social service center and the destination of global travelers in order to uplift the status of Mahidol University to be acknowledged globally through the local wisdom of herb and Thai traditional medicine.

The model of green campus development

The continuous cooperative projects between Ashram of Community and Environmental Architect, Arsom Silp Institute of the Arts and Mahidol University has caused big changes in the surrounding of the campus concretely which has resulted in the livings and perspectives of faculties, students, and staffs of the campus. The automotive campus has turned into pedestrian and bicycle friendly one and been widely mentioned in society. It is remarked as one of cool and pleasant campus in Thailand which has welcomed numbers of study trip from educational institutes and organizations as it is the successful model in rapid campus environmental improvement.

Additionally, the emphasis on applying the participatory process of the community and building user into public architectural design process in order to set up the building objectives and usages can raise the consciousness of ownership among the community.

Location: Salaya, Buddhamonthin, Nakhonpathom, Thailand
Year 2011
Client/Owner: Mahidol University
Status: Completed
Building Area: 1,984,000 sq.m.
Project Value: 620,000,000 baht