Mark Cousins

Drawing on Bangkok

Mobile Architecture and the Metropolis

7th May - 1st July 2017

“It’s all about the food.” David Thompson

“Bangkok is famous for its vibrant street food and books such as David Thompson’s epic ‘Thai Street Food’ (2009) catalogue individual recipes, however, the means by which street food is delivered seems to be largely overlooked. 

This exhibition therefore focuses on the architecture of Bangkok’s street food, specifically the mobile architecture of the vendors’ trollies, carts and wagons. They inhabit an already crowded pedestrian realm but provide a community service, animate the public space and maintain a discernible Genius Loci in this rapidly changing metropolis. 

In documenting this Mobile Architecture, I completed 31 drawings (one for each day in January 2017) along with some 1,800 photographs. During my month in Bangkok I switched accommodation every four days in order to explore different districts across the city including Silom, Sathorn, Sukhumvit and Talad Noi. 

Street food provision varies depending on the time of day (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and often clusters around busy transport interchanges, Skytrain stations, and such like. The stalls specialize in wonderful delicacies such as sweet sticky rice, chicken skewers, Isan sausages, roast chestnuts, sliced jackfruit and meatballs sprinkled with coconut water. The drawings employ pencil, pen + crayon and endeavour to capture something of the intrinsic, local dynamism which the city authorities seem determined to expunge. This exhibition is indebted to an Erasmus grant and Kasetsart University, Bangkok.”

Mark Cousins is an architect with over 25 years experience. His career has encompassed practice (in Germany and UK), academia (in Australia and Scotland) and publishing (for various journals and magazines). He is a Teaching Fellow at ESALA (University of Edinburgh).