Our ambition is, for the Mae Chan project to be a generator for change. The aim is to encourage exchange between the local community and visitors from around the globe. To achieve this, we considered positive exchange at all the scales from large through small.
At large scale, we saw potential in the positive impact foreigners and the locals will have on each other. Tourism will bring a steady source of income for the community, and in return they will share their undisturbed culture with these visitors through an immersive experience. The project will also influence locals to rediscover their traditional ways of living and prevent further replacement of beautiful vernacular homes for generic concrete houses, a present trend in rural life.
Taking a closer look at medium scale, tourists will be living with a local host in groups of four houses following the traditional way of Northern Thai lifestyle. There are five groups in total; each host will run different workshops according to the host’s specialty, herbal production for traditional medicine, rubber production and local cuisine to name a few. In terms of sustainability, we are employing natural ventilation for cooling during the summer and double layer fenestration for insulation in the winter. The aim is to learn from local knowhow, culture and traditions thus adapt them where appropriate to ensure relevance in present times and well into the future.
At small scale, we are using old timbers from dismantled homes, torn down to make way for their inferior concrete counterparts, as building materials for the project. Extensive documentation of individual plank was done to minimize construction cost and material wastage. We are celebrating every mark on every piece of timber as expressive of its and subsequently the community history.
The Mae Chan project carefully considers sustainable tourism as a catalyst for cultural and knowledge exchanges, which benefits both tourists and locals, as well as positively impact the surrounding community.