Project Information
Name of Project: Neilson Hays Library

Category: Institution
Location:   Bangkok , Thailand
Design Period: 
Completion Year: 
Site Area: 
Photographer: Open space 


I a hot summer day, if you want to get relaxed and enjoy yourself among greenery, a city park is a way to go. Today, not only public parks, there are private green spaces that are accessible for the public. The Neilson Hays Library is one among them. Recently, a big renovation project has just been completed there. Shma was one of the renovation teams responsible for the landscape design. 

The library is now ready and open for visitors to come and chill out under big canopies of trees in the front court. With the lush greenery, the privately owned public space provides a green space for the city, as well as a public space for the community.

The main entrance was on the different ground levels. To seamlessly connect the front garden and the library building, Shma has introduced elevated wooden decks with the universal design that is easily accessible for everyone.

Through time, the streets surrounding the Neilson Hays Library have been paved over and over, resulting in level change between the streets and the library site area. As a result, in the rainy season, stormwater flew into the area. It is one of the main challenges needed to be tackled.

The elevated deck is built over the old gutter, and connect with the other decks across the site. The existing detention area is left uncovered to allow the stormwater flow to the gutter.

The walkway is elevated 30 cm to prevent overflown stormwater into the building area.

The existing trees are all preserved. The big canopies expand over the site, filtering heat and air pollution.


The ground under the big trees cannot be filled up to the site ground level. The trees will eventually die if the roots are covered with thick soil. The lower ground then becomes detention areas where only water tolerant trees, such as Elephant ear, Bird’s-nest fern, and Violet Ixora can be planted.

The front court is designed to cater for various activities, with lush big canopies of old big trees namely, Tamanu tree and Flame tree.


The big trees help to screen sunlight and lower the micro-climate, creating an ideal space for getting relaxed all day long.

The existing flooring has been reused and rearranged in a new pattern to be more user-friendly. The reused materials help to save up the budget while maintain the original vibe.

The previous flooring pattern left spaces between each one grass to grow. However, the uneven floor was not suitable for walking and can be even unsafe. Additionally, some areas under the big trees are shady and too dark for grass to thrive.

We have rearranged the flooring pattern to better serve different usages of the court. There are some areas left uncovered to grow Snakes Beard plant which is a shade tolerant planting species.