BANGKOK, THAILAND - Media OutReach - 4 June 2019 - Sponsored by Magnolia Quality Development Corporation,
the Well-being Architecture, Technology
and Sustainability (WATS) Conference held on 3 June attracted
1,000 participants from diverse professions.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Singh Intrachooto, Chief Advisor
of the Research & Innovation for Sustainability Center (RISC) under MQDC, declared
at the opening that, "Natural disasters, air pollution,
climate change events are happening around the world and they affect not only
the environment but all of us. WATS
Forum was born from our belief in core value of sustainability. We believe that only through
sharing knowledge can we stand a chance of creating a brighter, better,
and happier future."
This annual platform brings together
experts to share their ideas, innovation, and success stories in preserving our
planet. Four speakers shared their
inspiring implementation and ideas.
From left to right: Mr. Visit Malaisirirat, CEO of Magnolia Quality
Development Corporation Limited (MQDC); Dr. Karndee Leopairote, Moderator; Mr. Stefan de Koning, Senior Associate Architect
from MVRDV; Mr. Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Former Prime Minister of
Prof. Dr. Singh Intrachooto, Chief Advisor of the
Research & Innovation for Sustainability Center (RISC); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yodchanan Wongsawat from the Faculty of
Engineering at Mahidol University; Professor Michael Steven Strano, Carbon P. Dubbs
Professor of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT);
Mr. Keerin Chutumstid, President, Property & Service
Business Group of MQDC
Tshering Tobgay, Former Prime Minister of Bhutan, inspired the audience to
investigate ideas of happiness as he shared stories from 400 years ago, when the former King of Bhutan
introduced a philosophy that the government should provide happiness and well-being to the people. For
the past 40 years, the Bhutanese
Monarchy along with the government invented Gross National Happiness (GNH)
to measure the nation's
happiness level. It has valued GNH or Gross National Happiness
over GDP because the economy alone does not provide well-being for the people, he said.
has become a symbol of Bhutan. The
United Nations and many European countries are learning about this model to
implement it for the public good. The
government of Bhutan conducts thorough 2-hour interviews
every 5 years with large groups of people to measure their happiness level
based on 9 important indices such as their living standard, health, education, and
further affirm this philosophy of happiness, Mr.
Tobgay added that, "We have
GNH of Business Certification with 56 indicators to measure the health and
happiness and well-being of
companies and their stakeholders. We are
thus moving from a profit-driven
approach, satisfying only the shareholders, to a holistic approach that includes
everyone among the stakeholders of operations."
Professor Michael Steven Strano,
Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) and the author of over 50 innovative papers, showcased an inspiring invention that can
light up cities as well as human creativity. Imagine reading a book by the light of a luminous plant. Through research and development
in nano technology, Prof. Strano
and his team made a
watercress shoot glow for 4 hours using luciferase, an enzyme that enables
firefly to glow.
"We are able to inject these
chemicals into a living plant. For the first time we can hack the
plant and put particles inside to interact with it. There's a long-standing idea of making trees
illuminate along roadsides. They
could take the place of streetlamps and wouldn't
need an electricity supply, reducing power demand. We have also seen this idea in the
popular movie Avatar, which
plants in its alien world," he
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yodchanan Wongsawat from the
Faculty of Engineering at Mahidol University is known as a pioneer in improving
the quality of life of people with disabilities. Working with brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, he is able to use electrical
activity to help people move, cycle, and perform basic functions for themselves. There are about 2 million people with
disabilities in Thailand and 190 million around the world.
"Half my life has been dedicated to
solving this problem. I
want to be able to create opportunities for people with disabilities to move
themselves because that's
their dream, to do things for themselves instead of relying on canes,
wheelchairs, or human assistance."
Dr. Yodchanan was able to create miraculous
changes in people's
lives even bringing 2 clients to participate in the Cybathlon, which is a
unique championship for people with physical disabilities to compete against
each other using technological assistance.
Stefan De Koning, Senior Associate
Architect from MVRDV, one of the most influential urban design practices in the world, offered a solution to solve the
impact of Bangkok's
rapid population growth.
Bangkok's population is forecast to be 9.4 million by 2020 and 12.1 million by 2030. Mr. Koning suggested that Bangkok
could benefit from architecture models used around the world, such as in Kemang
Jakarta, where traditional villages are built as vertical cities, with tall
towers and stacked floors.
"The question is how we can improve
quality of life while growing the city. There are 10,000 km of sois in Bangkok and these are places
where people feel safe, with a sense of community and tradition. In Kemang, Jakarta, we were
requested to build a large mixed-use
development with restaurants, gardens and we stacked the villages literally. The housing is in a tower
formation, same size as you would have at ground level. What we try to achieve here is to
have a high-rise
development which is community-centered. In that sense, could this be
something that could be applied in Bangkok? What if we were to stack the sois on
top of each other?"
suggested Mr. Koning.
Bangkok ranked among the top 3 cities for pollution in
the world. Mr. Koning proposed that one potential
way to solve the problem could be to have
buses underground and to create sky bridges that connect destinations, making
them educational walks with trees and nature. With climate change, there is no
escaping rising water levels but there are ways to combat this. His ideas include trees alongside
the Chao Praya River and adopting models that have worked in other cities to
make Bangkok resilient for the future.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Singh Intrachooto concluded that, "If we all think about our society
and our environment, making that a priority, maybe we'll have a chance to create a happy
future. Environment has not been our top
priority and we can change that now by focusing on the needs of this world, not
just humans but all living beings."
one of the leading property developers in Thailand, MQDC hopes to improve the
industry through its "sustainnovation" concept, which embraces novel solutions
for individuals and communities to live well, both physically and
"WATS Forum 2019" will continue as an annual international conference with a primary
objective of promoting the creation of sustainable well-being for all lives.
About Research & Innovation for Sustainability Center (RISC)
Research & Innovation for Sustainability
Center (RISC) is a
research hub for sustainable buildings with a focus on well-being that
provides public information resources and operates an international network of
RISC's 990 sq.m base in Bangkok
includes Thailand's first office built to the specifications of the WELL
Building Standard from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). The site's host of healthy
and sustainable features includes Intelligent Systems that monitor and control
energy consumption and indoor air quality (IAQ) across its 8
RISC is committed to making its resources
accessible to spur change within property sector. RISC curates
Thailand's first 'eco-material library', for example,
with publicly accessible samples and details of over 400 materials.
More information is available at www.risc.in.th
About Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited (MQDC)
Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited (MQDC) is a property
developer that develops, invests in, and manages residential, mixed-use, commercial,
and hotel projects with a corporate commitment 'for all well-being'.
MQDC brands include Magnolias, Whizdom, The Aspen Tree,
and Mulberry Grove, catering for a range of healthy, sustainable lifestyles.
The company provides an industry-leading 30-year warranty on
its residential units in line with its exceptional construction standards.
Under its philosophy of 'sustainnovation' MQDC aims to lead
its sector in sustainability. The company supports the Bangkok-based Research
& Innovation for Sustainability Center (RISC), Asia's first research
base for sustainable building with a focus on well-being.
MQDC is determined to operate with concern for all life on
earth, advancing this agenda through sustainable development for the wider
benefit of society.
For more information, visit www.mqdc.com