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How theCOMMONS is Beating the Heat and Promoting Sustainability in Thailand's Hipster Haven

When it comes to green building design, natural ventilation has increasingly become a key consideration to create comfort through a passive cooling strategy. theCOMMONS shopping mall, located in the Thonglor District of Bangkok, Thailand, is designed to offer a community hub for visitors, providing a cool and comfortable space to escape the tropical heat.

Opened in 2015, theCOMMONS showcases modern interior design with an industrial touch, creating an enjoyable place for meeting friends. The mall’s unique design blends modernism and sustainability to create a space that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly. As a multi-purpose community, the mall includes international restaurants, cultural and creative shops, a fitness centre, children's playground, and a rooftop organic farming garden, making it the perfect place to spend a full day.

Besides being a mall, theCOMMONS is a community hub that advocates for environmental sustainability. The mall is divided into two sections, from the ground to second floor, and the third to fourth floors. Below the elevated third and fourth floor structure, there is an outdoor space composed of steps and platforms that extends upward and allows visitors to relax in the shade. With its unique architectural structure, the mall blocks out the sun at the hottest time of the day, ensuring a comfortable temperature for visitors.

The ventilation design of theCOMMONS is equally impressive. Two sets of industrial fans are installed into the glass ceiling of the mall, drawing out hot air and blowing wind downward. Large ceiling fans on each floor of the mall create the sensation of an indoor breeze, reducing the need for air conditioning. On the upper floors, a thin steel mesh façade also allows natural light and fresh breezes to flood in while keeping the heat out.

In terms of building materials, the mall’s flooring is made from wood-plastic composites instead of timber. These are manufactured from organic materials and recycled or renewable plastics. In addition to being more environmentally friendly, the composites provide a longer service life as they are not susceptible to the fatal defects of natural wood such as easy deformation, warping, mildew, and termite problems. In addition, the composites can be recycled or decomposed at the end of their life cycle, promoting further sustainability.

Overall, theCOMMONS exemplifies human-centred design, creating an urban oasis in Bangkok that brings the community together. The mall’s innovative design features are an ideal case study for achieving energy-savings in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and provide valuable inspiration for Hong Kong’s own journey to Net Zero.



Photos by theCOMMONS

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