Mahakan Fort panel may reprieve some houses

Experts have proposed a five-point appraisal to evaluate the houses in Mahakan Fort community for conservation.

The points to be used in appraising the remaining 33 houses in the community are values based on history; art and architecture; society and way of life; archaeology, settlement, and city planning; and knowledge, said Sudjit Sananwai, of the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA).

The ASA was among experts, including Silpakorn University’s architecture lecturer Chatri Prakitnonthakan, invited by the Mahakan Fort community to help establish criteria to appraise the houses to be conserved.

Various parties to the row met Thursday for the first time since the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) demolished some of the houses in early March.

City Hall agreed to conserve some of the old houses in the community. The meeting brought together the military, the BMA and residents.

The appraisal will take place on April 29-30. Ms Sudjit said the appraisal will be carried out by academics assigned by the BMA and experts including representatives from the ASA.

Under the proposal, more than 24 houses may be worth conserving, said Ms Sudjit.

The proposal will focus on the architectural value as much as on the social value and people’s way of life.

For that reason, it would not be possible to conserve the houses but evict the people from their community, she said.

Meanwhile, deputy Bangkok governor Chakkaphan Phewngam says the community conservation plan will not include the residents, just their houses.

He said 24 houses will be appraised if they should be conserved. However, the conserved houses may be relocated to more appropriate locations.

The plot will be turned into a park for public use by the end of this year, he said. A plan for the park is being scrutinised by the BMA’s Department of City Planning.

It will also be sent to the Fine Arts Department for input.

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