Sustainable “Smart City” Grows in Thailand

In July 2015, Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited (MQDC) announced the launch of WHIZDOM 101 in Bangkok, Thailand. Coined “The Great Good Place,” the project represented a step into the future and was designed to be a one-stop world for a person’s every need, want and aspiration. Almost three years later, the future is here—and it’s designed to last.

WHIZDOM 101 is a mixed-use development with a total construction area of 350,000 square meters. Designed for vertical living, the project includes three high-rise buildings that will eventually have around 2,000 units. The first two buildings are complete; the final one was launched in January and is set to be completed in 2019.

Besides personal living space, WHIZDOM 101 offers the community social living space as well as plenty of green space—approximately 30 percent of the land is dedicated to this purpose. The development includes retail space, restaurants, a library, supermarkets, banks, beauty services, office space and gyms. It also boasts Thailand’s first in-building multilevel bicycle lane and jogging track that will pass in and out of the development’s buildings.

WHIZDOM 101 offers people a futuristic urban life in a green, sustainable package. (Image courtesy of Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited.)

WHIZDOM 101 offers people a futuristic urban life in a green, sustainable package. (Image courtesy of Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited.)

Opening in October 2018 will be True Digital Park, which MQDC leases to True Corporation. True has invested millions into the installation of digital infrastructure for WHIZDOM 101. True Digital Park will feature co-working space in an open-air green area, offices and data centers, with amenities, broadband and an advanced 4G network.

While that all sounds great, how is this sustainable? This is approach is called “sustainovation” by MQDC President Suttha Ruengchaipaiboon, and the company discovered that the best framework to reach its goals was a research-driven method of learning and implementation that incorporated human behavior into the ecosystem. Thanks in part to building information modeling (BIM), which is becoming increasingly necessary in infrastructure projects, MQDC built its vision with sustainable innovation in mind.

The result was creating standards from design to construction that met certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold and Thai’s Rating of Energy and Environmental Sustainability (TREES) Gold and Platinum. To achieve maximum green space, MQDC designed high-performance buildings and high-efficiency mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Using a BIM model allowed the company to analyze the project’s design and energy consumption to meet its sustainability goals.

Built with nontoxic materials, WHIZDOM 101 boasts energy-saving features such as a district cooling plant, solar power panels and a Pavegen system that generates 5 watts from every footstep. With its green space and close connection to most of life’s needs, the project is expected to save about 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking about 3,000 cars off the road.

WHIZDOM 101’s innovation has gained recognition from others. In August, the project won a third-place 2017 AEC Excellence Award in the Sustainability category and was one of seven projects to receive a Smart City Design Award in the Smart Cities Clean Energy project held by the Energy Policy and Planning Office and Thai Green Building Institute.