Silom Wing: Last year was spent designing the Silom Wing for Membership approval and we now have an exciting project to deliver. We have an excellent qualified Sub Committee under Ali Adam’s chairmanship, which is quickly putting in place everything needed to get started. Contracts have already been signed with Chapman Taylor our Architects and GES Solutions our Quantity Surveyors. By the time you receive this we will also have recruited a Project Manager and should have the necessary BMA demolition and renovation permits. Final design details can then be agreed and detailed drawings prepared for tender. All is looking good for demolition work to begin on schedule in July. We will shortly be updating the website where all of this can be followed in detail.
Every effort will be made to minimise the impact on Members’ enjoyment of the Club during construction and some preparatory work will soon be underway. The Pavilion Café will be closed in June to be refurbished as the new staff facilities and this will improve the Club environment with the reinstatement of the Surawongse Road boundary wall and the tennis court screens, reducing traffic noise and improving security.
A temporary family area will also be created at the northern end of the Front Lawn with shaded seating, an inflatable pool and playground equipment. This will be designed in such a way that events will still be possible on the lawn and furnishings purchased can be used elsewhere when the Silom Wing opens next year.
Silom Wing: A Silom Wing Sub-Committee has been established to take over from the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-Committee to deliver the project as approved at the EGM on 31st January. Preparatory work is well underway: requests for the necessary demolition/ building permits have been submitted, architect and quantity surveyor contracts drawn up, and Terms of Reference agreed for the appointment of a project manager. A contract for refurbishing the Pavilion Café as the new staff facility is being finalised and this outlet will close about 8 weeks before the Silom Wing construction starts so that it is ready for use before the existing staff building is knocked down. We are also finalising plans for temporary young family facilities on the Front Lawn during construction, which will include shaded seating, an inflatable pool and playground equipment. All being well, work on the Silom Wing will start on schedule in July.
Poolside Redevelopment: Many thanks to everyone who attended the EGM on 31st January or voted by Proxy. I am delighted that the General Committee has been given a clear mandate to proceed with the Silom Wing as the first part of Chapman Taylor’s Poolside redevelopment.
Proxy votes have always been controversial at the British Club with some Members arguing that only those willing to make the effort to attend general meetings and listen to the debate should deserve to vote. Maybe in the old days this was a valid argument but today Members have so many travel and business commitments that on any chosen date many are simply unable to attend. I believe that the vast majority of those who voted by proxy at the EGM were genuinely unable to attend but were keen to vote on this historically important decision. Happily the result was the same whichever way the vote was counted with an overwhelming 80% in favour, both on the floor and including proxies.
The sub-committee has already had preliminary meetings to get the project started and is committed to doing everything possible to deliver it within time and on budget. Member concerns and feedback have been well noted and will be taken into account as the final tendering documents are drawn up. Members will be kept fully informed of progress through Outpost and on the Club Website and in the following pages you will find a brief article by Ali Adam outlining the first steps.
Neilson Hays Library: We have restored relationships with our neighbours at the Neilson Hays library this year. They are now an associated member group, our gate into the library is open at weekends and shortly we expect to sign a contract to run their café again during the second half of 2017 when renovation works are complete. It is surprising that many BC Members are hardly aware that this splendid library exists, literally next door. It is a magnificent old building and besides being a library, it hosts numerous literary, art and musical events. Neilson Hays will hold some of these events at the club during their renovations including Saturday morning children’s story time sessions, providing a great opportunity to build awareness of what our two non-profit associations can provide. Watch out for announcements.
The Pavilion Café will be closed to become the new Staff House as soon as the Silom Wing construction schedule is finalised. It has been mainly used by non-Members who be will be catered for at the Neilson Hays Library. This will create a much improved staff facility, more modern, better located and with plenty of room for expansion at a later stage if staff numbers increase. It will also enable the Club Suriwongse Road wall to be reinstated, improving security and reducing street noise. Full backdrops will be reinstated on the tennis courts to improve the tennis playing experience.
A huge amount of work has been done by the architects, engineers and quantity surveyors and we are now ready to present Chapman Taylor’s final design for the poolside redevelopment for your consideration at an EGM on 31st January. Details will be sent out with the calling papers and posted on the website. If approved, this will be a huge milestone for the Club, our largest investment for decades, delivering the first phase of an exciting modern family/ sports hub. The GC believes this will revitalise the Club but Members have to approve it. Please make every effort to be at this crucial EGM, and if you are unable to make it, please send in a proxy vote. Watch out for more information.
Poolside Redevelopment: After selecting Chapman Taylor as the winner of the poolside redevelopment Concept Design Competition in September a lot of hard work has been going to translate this into a fully costed and phased Schematic Design for presentation to the Members. We had originally hoped to call the EGM in October, postponed it until November and even this proved optimistic. The original concept designs were put together in just 4 weeks under competition rules and we have needed additional time to work with the architects, engineers and quantity surveyor to refine design details such as shade and landscaping, determine the optimum choice of construction materials and find the least disruptive phasing for the construction.
As I write this we are very close to finalising the Schematic Design and expect to be calling the EGM in January. The project will be divided into phases, the first being the whole of the Silom end of the Poolside. This will provide a vibrant modern young family hub with kiddies pool, playground / climbing equipment and an air-conditioned care/ play area as well as a games room and the two new squash courts. This includes most of the facilities presented at earlier AGM/ EGMs and the engineers are confident that by the end of 2017 all of this could be completed. Members will initially be asked to approve this first phase but the full scheme will be presented and the timing of subsequent phases will depend on funding projections.
Poolside Redevelopment: This month we were pleased to announce Chapman Taylor as the winner of the poolside redevelopment Concept Design Competition with an ‘exciting, bold, contemporary design that dares to be different’. A technical evaluation, member feedback and a staff survey all made Chapman Taylor the clear winner but of course its very modernity juxtaposed with our classic Club House was bound to be controversial. When the original Club House was built over 100 years ago, it was designed for its audience using contemporary material of its time. Chapman Taylor’s vision for the Poolside for the 21st century can be considered to be honouring that heritage not simply mimicking it.
The design brief given to the architects celebrated the fact that the Club has many constituents in its membership and, to survive, needs to cater for all; not just function as a ‘gentleman’s’ club from an age when ‘Britannia Ruled the Waves’. This design caters for young families and sport enthusiasts allowing the Club to embrace today’s new ‘Cool Britannia’ whilst distinguishing the Club House heritage offering of ‘Rule Britannia’. The ‘new’ can ‘complement’ the old, a debate perhaps most famously illustrated by the initial shock reaction to I. M. Pei’s Pyramid at the Louvre. Not only is it is now admired with nostalgia across the world; it championed the architectural revolution/solution of contemporary architecture into heritage settings.
We are confident that Chapman Taylor will due full justice to this new British Club icon. They have now been engaged to prepare a more detailed, phased and costed Schematic Design that can then be presented to the Members for consideration at an EGM. The design will be refined to be more engaging, adjusting the layout and materials to take into account feedback from the sub-committee, management and members whilst maintaining the overall integrity of the scheme.
Before we can bring this plan to the Members for consideration we have to be confident that we can afford it. Whilst the Club is in good financial health, the Finance sub-committee reminds us that other commitments such as staff retirement funds cannot be compromised. Phasing of the work will have to take into account likely cash flow and this has to be worked out before we announce the date of the EGM. We currently still expect this to be mid-November. Realistically, work is likely to be phased over at least two years and even then full upgrades to furnishings and fittings may have to come later.
I am pleased to inform you that the General Committee has unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-committee to announce Chapman Taylor as the winner of the Concept Design Competition.
The following are extracts from the Sub-committee report:
The Sub-committee was formed from Club Members with technical expertise in the area of redevelopment and interested Members. Based on their collective knowledge it was determined the best way forward was to hold a paid design competition and in the process turn the technical language and the design brief into 3D imagery, understandable to all Members.
The design competition followed the norms of international design. A pre-qualification process invited a number of firms to express their interest which included Three-D Architects (original designer who worked on the last scheme), Harper Architecture (an active Member who had previously submitted alternative schemes for this redevelopment) as well as two leading international firms with offices here in Bangkok, Chapman Taylor and HBO+EMTB. Other leading design firms were also approached, but declined to join this competitive design competition process.
Four contrasting solutions, each having their own merits, were submitted. A full technical evaluation has been undertaken including interviews with each firm. The concept designs were displayed at the Club; each scheme was placed on the British Club website; an open forum was held with representatives of each firm available to meet Members; and an online survey undertaken to elicit Members’ views.
As an internationally renowned, award-winning design firm there were great expectations of their submittal. They did not disappoint. Their design was bold, contemporary: daring to be different. They clearly had studied the design brief, the criteria for assessment and had put energy and their creative talents to good use.
A number of features stood out:
– Their spatial planning to maximise the space, removing the Silom Sala that divided the area allowing them to form integrated zones that can expand and contract with needs, be it for everyday use, special events and future demands.
– The use of prefabrication to allow for factory quality control of materials, reduce time with the consequential reduction of impact on today’s users of the poolside facilities.
– Contemporary design and composition, in celebration of the functions rather than style over form. The honesty in their design integrity also shone through in the dialogue with the actual team working on the project.
– The crafting of a resort zone within the overall context of the Club.
– The design has honoured the budget restraints
As with any master plan concept, the design is not a fully evolved total solution. There is still work to be undertaken to capture operational efficiencies, phasing of the works, plus technical dialogue to ensure the design is maintenance free (as much as is practically achievable). There is need for further landscaping elements as well as working with the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-committee to ensure that the individual ‘touches’ that matter to the target audience are fully addressed.
The attitude and approach of Chapman Taylor is to work to the brief and to engage with the Club to creatively produce not just amenities, but facilities for all to be proud of. It is because of this philosophy and approach of Chapman Taylor that the Poolside Redevelopment Sub-Committee is confident in their ability to deliver an exceptional offering that will add value to the Club.
The work of the Sub-committee included a technical evaluation, plus a Member feedback and staff survey.
Technical Evaluation and Surveys:
a) Technical Evaluation
The Sub-committee appointed a specialist 7-person Evaluation Team which carried out a detailed analysis of each scheme based on the following 5 criteria and applying the specified weightings:
Design Solution (25%)
Integrated Design (20%)
The Evaluation Team reported its conclusions to the SC on 24th August. The result was that 6 members of the team scored Chapman Taylor 1st and 1 member scored Harper Architecture 1st.
Overall, Chapman Taylor was ranked 1st, Harper Architecture 2nd, Three D Architects 3rd and HBO +EMTB 4th.
The SC unanimously (14 of 16 members were present at the meeting) recommended to the GC that Taylor Chapman be announced as the winner of the competition.
b) Member Survey
The Member survey was closed at midnight on Monday 29th August with 103 valid responses:
Chapman Taylor 46 (including one absent Member)
Harper Architecture 31 (including one absent Member)
HBO+ EMTB 8
Three D Architects 6
Sadly there was an attempt to confuse the results with false submissions sent under other Member’s names, all very negative and rather silly since it was simple to check with the Members concerned whether or not they had submitted these returns. 10 returns have therefore been removed from the ‘None’ count, 1 from Harper Architecture, 1 from Three D Architects. A few others are suspect but these will not have affected the overall result.
c) Staff Survey
Club Staff were also invited to state which scheme they preferred. 55 staff responded as follows:
Chapman Taylor 27
Harper Architecture 17
HBO+ EMTB 8
Three D Architects 3
The technical evaluations and all surveys therefore arrived at the same conclusion and we will make these documents available as soon as possible.
The results of the Concept Design competition were conclusive and the General Committee has given the SC approval to work with Chapman Taylor to produce a Final Design for presentation to the Members at an EGM. We thank everyone who took the time to give feedback. Although there were divergent views, there were many very useful comments and suggestions that will be invaluable as the final scheme is worked out.
The SC will also work closely with the Finance Sub-committee to produce a financial plan with appropriate phasing which will be presented to support the preferred scheme. It is also planned to appoint Currie & Brown as Quantity Surveyors to ensure that final costings are accurate.
There is a lot of important work to be done and it is likely that we will move the EGM back to mid-November to make sure there is adequate time to do this properly. We will announce the date as soon as possible and Members will be kept informed of progress.
We thank each of the 4 Architectural Firms for the hard work and creativity which went into their submissions, members of the Sub-committee for huge amounts of time put into overseeing the process, and once again to all Members who have participated in the process.
We look forward to bringing a final recommended scheme for your consideration soon and to your continued support.
With best wishes,
Chairman, the General Committee