Thailand’s JUTI architects joins ASEAN shortlisted entries in WAF 2019

JUTI architects' Mary Help of Christian Church is competing at the World Architecture Festival with fellow ASEAN firms from Singapore and the Philippines

  • July 26, 2019

  • Written by Denny Mata

  • Photographed by Peerapat Wimolrungkarat

“Simple yet powerful,” answers Juti Klipbua, design principal of JUTI architects, when asked how he would like people to describe or remember his studio’s works. The Bangkok-based architecture firm was established in 2008 and has been working on hospitality, residential, public building, and retail architecture and interior design projects in Thailand. Following Klipbua’s lead, the studio describes their shortlisted entry to the World Architecture Festival 2019 as “humble and simple, yet powerful.”

JUTI architects’ Mary Help of Christian Church (owned by Suratthani Catholic Foundation), will be competing at the WAF in Amsterdam come December 4-6, against the five other shortlisted religious buildings completed in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Singapore; Murcia, Spain; and Cebu, Philippines (the Cor Jesu Oratory by Kenneth Cobonpue and Zubu Design Associates).

The WAF is the largest and one of the most prestigious annual architecture global events, where over 2000 architects come to listen to international speakers from such admired firms as Foster + Partners, Bjarke Ingels Group, Zaha Hadid Architects, Studio Gang, OMA, Nigel Coates studio, UNStudio, Neri&Hu, and Grimshaw Architects, discuss critical challenges to the profession. The WAF Awards, on the other hand, is where your work gains international exposure as other architects and designers and the industry’s power players judge it in a live crit.

READ MORE: Four Filipino Firms Make World Architecture Festival 2019 Awards Shortlist

Below are the images and concept description of JUTI architects’ Mary Help of Christian Church, submitted to the WAF earlier this year. The text has been slightly edited and some images have been added for publication.

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The triple layer of the façade curve wall compound in one building represents the Trinity of the Mighty Lord.

Given the extension of the Catholic community and the increase in tourist visits in Samui island in Thailand, Suratthani Catholic Foundation, who wishes to participate in the mass in the then chapel, Bishop Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB, came up with the idea to build a new church and name it as Mary Help of Christian Church. The selected architect (Juti Klipbua), who was inspired by the church name, took passages in the Holy Bible relating to the holy Annunciation of Mary, which he melds into his design, as follows:

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Detail of the Trinity wall and the ray of the holy spirit against the blue sky of Samui island

LUKE 1:35
In answer, the angel said to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for that reason the one who is born will be called holy, God’s Son.”

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The side façade of the building shows the simplicity of function that composed form, and the use of light and shade as its decoration.

LUKE 1:38
Then Mary said: “Look, I am Jehovah’s slave girl. May it happen to me according to your declaration.” At that, the angel departed from her.

From the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to Luke, 1:35 and 1:38, we can see that the appearance of Angel to convey the Holy message to Mary the virgin was humble and simple yet powerful. It was to accept the Holy Spirit to possess her in order to bear the Redeemer in her womb. She sacrificed herself as a natural means for human being survival.

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View from the congregation area to the sanctuary at night, with the altar cross in the middle of the light void, and stations of the cross above every pivot door. The main materials are white concrete wall, terrazzo floor, white oak for the congregation area, and white marble and brass for the sanctuary area.

“Safe as in mother’s womb”

In designing the building, the architect intends to convey this message in a simple way with its internal space with a light form that creates a feeling of security as in the mother’s womb.

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During the day, the iconic white render of architecture stands out from the surrounding buildings, yet it links dark grey gravel on the ground with the blue sky.

The building exterior was designed in a combined form of praying hands, Angel wings and the Rays of the Holy Spirit. The use of natural light through the skylight for interior lighting and shadow of cloud falling on the walls represent the God Almighty that is above all things created by a human being. To realize this phenomenon in a hot and humid environment of Samui island, the long and narrow light voids in combination with lightweight insulation concrete wall running through are then designed in order to create a shadow that keeps changing with time yet retains the interior comfort.

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The architecture glows off the Samui island surrounding in the twilight.

READ MORE: Thailand and Singapore Dominate ASEAN entry shortlist at INSIDE Festival 2019

“No decoration… Best decoration”

Since the purpose of the church is to pray, the architect intends to minimize symbolic decoration. Hence, the prayers would focus only on the sacraments and their natural environment. Natural material with the minimum process is selected, e. g. white concrete wall, terrazzo floor, glass, natural white oak furniture, and gray marble, were used for interior decoration. Prayers can humbly enjoy their peace of mind while embracing the Glories of the great Creator.

Watch out for more stories on Filipino and ASEAN WAF shortlisted architects and designers. We will also be posting exclusive images of the competition they face in their categories.

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