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King's Hospitals project: Renovating Had Samran community hospital in Trang using Universal Design

Project name: King’s community hospitals - Had Samran in Trang

Funder/Sponsor: Department of Health, Bureau of Policy and Strategy - Ministry of Public Health, Thai Health Promotion Foundation

Collaborator: Faculty of Architecture Kasetsart University, Community Architect teams including Jaiban Studio and CROSSs

Year: 2016-2017

Project type: Design 


In late 2016, ten King’s hospitals across Thailand were chosen to be renovated by different teams of communityarchitects using government funding. The project aimed to transform these small district hospitals into community hospitals, to be a central attribute of the communities they serve. Tar-Saeng Studio was commissioned to undertake the renovation of two hospitals: Had Samran Hospital in Trang and Yi-ngo hospital in Narathiwat. We used a participatory approach, working with the local communities, the hospital staff and representatives from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and the Ministry of Public Health.


Had Samran in Trang

At the Had Samran community hospital in Trang province, we were assigned two tasks:  

  1. Redesign the Masterplan of the entire hospital area

  2. Design the “Chaloem Phra Kiat” building, commemorating King Bhumibol Adulyadej. This building serves two functions: to be a community centre for the people of Had Samran and to be the centre for traditional medicine in the region

Redesigning the Masterplan

During the participatory design process, the community members expressed a strong desire to create a community market focusing on healthy food. The hospital team’s focus was on becoming known as a traditional Thai medicine hospital. 

Based on these two complimentary aspirations, Tar-Saeng studio used organic farming and growing medicinal plants, edible plants and fruit to be part of the Masterplan. With this concept in mind, we incorporated the existing buildings, including these functions on the rest of the hospital area. 

For example:

  • We designed areas to plant herbs and medicinal plants around the In-Patient Department: we picked herbs with a nice smell, so that bed-ridden patients can smell them too

  • We designed a space for growing food around the hospital team’s dorm building and around the kitchen. The food grown on site can be used in food preparation for the hospital, and by the officers

  • We designed the back of the hospital as a recreational area, including fruit trees and edible climbing plants. We also added a recreational boat on the pond to allow the communities to be closer to water


By working with the other hospital buildings, we maximised the areas that met with the design brief by utilising spaces that already exist

Design the “Chaloem Phra Kiat” building

For the King’s building, we kept the idea of bringing nature into the built environment. Half of the building was designed to include planting areas and trees; the roof was also designed as a planting area. 


The “Chaloem Phra Kiat” building has two floors: the traditional medicine department is located on the first floor as the Thai traditional medicine preparation requires the use of many ingredients; for convenience, it needs to be on the first floor to avoid carrying the plants further. Consequently, the community centre is on the second floor. To bring nature into the building, the meeting areas overlook planting areas, so that people holding meetings can overlook plants, trees and nature. 

Looking to the future

The hospital team is keen to set up solar panels on the roof, to allow for greater energy efficiency. A design has been created to incorporate this vision, which the hospital staff can carry out once they have enough budget.

To read more about our process in designing the renovation of the Had Samran community hospital, please visit our blog.