Ordinary Urban Heritage: Pattern and Transformation of Thai Spirit Houses, Case Study in Bangrak District

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Kittisak Ruangmun
Prin Jhearmaneechotechai


Ordinary Urban Heritage is an alternative view of Culture Heritage. In contrast to the international conservation concept that focuses on national and official heritage, the concept of Ordinary Urban Heritage esteems the cultural heritage inherent in the everyday activities of ordinary people. The Thai spirit houses, also known as Saan Phra Phum, have held a revered position within Thai society for a long time. This spirit house represents the belief of the dwellings of guardian spirits, safeguarding homes and buildings, which this belief has transmission from generation to generation. but these cultural significances are overlooked in the context of Cultural Heritage today. Furthermore, they face the risk of destruction by the transformation of community space. This article elucidates the potential of Saan Phra Phum to assume an ordinary urban heritage. By sorting them against five selection criteria — the amount of time that the heritage has existed, their association with ordinary people, repetitive appearances or clustering, adaptability to urbanization, and the existence of heritage. it becomes evident that they merit recognition as Ordinary Urban Heritage. Moreover, the Thai spirit houses serve as valuable representations that shed light on patterns and transformations occurring amid the processes of urbanization and multicultural societies in the Bangrak District.

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