Bangkok building takes architecture to new heights

Meandering around central Bangkok recently, I kept seeing from different angles a startling building nearing completion.  It arrested me from every point of view, and it is as memorable to me as the Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

I looked up the nearly completed skyscraper online, and dezeen architecture and design magazine provided me with background that I have shamelessly extracted here in part.

At 314 meters, or 1,030 feet, the MahaNakhon tower was intended to be the city’s tallest and already is being overtaken.  Its designer is German architect Ole Scheeren of Office for Metropolitan Architecture, where he conceived the building before leaving that Rem Koolhaas-led firm. Scheeren completing the project with his own studio, Büro Ole Scheeren.

According to the magazine, the 77-story building will accommodate 200 serviced apartments operated by Ritz-Carlton and a 150-room boutique Bangkok Edition hotel operated by Marriot International and Ian Schrager.

Scheeren’s studio describes the structure as having been “carefully carved to introduce a three-dimensional ribbon of architectural pixels that coil up the tower’s full height to reveal the inner life of the building.”  The magazine’s site, which contains far better photos than mine, goes on to provide the architect’s vision as follows:

The glazed volumes contained with this void, referred to as “glass skyboxes”, are designed to provide occupants with indoor and outdoor living spaces that are well-suited to Bangkok’s tropical climate.

They will include double-height spaces, boasting views over both the city and the Chaophraya River.

The pixelated volume is designed to “gradually dissolve” down to ground level, where the team is creating a landscaped public plaza.

Maybe you have to see the building in person to appreciate its impact.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that viewing it was for me an unforgettable experience that I will long value as the reflection of a daring work of great art.


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