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AL_A’s Bangkok shopping complex nears completion

Work is nearing completion on AL_A’s 140,000m2 luxury retail scheme in Bangkok

The scheme by Amanda Levete’s practice AL_A sits in the former gardens of the British Embassy in the Thai capital and combines a seven-storey retail podium below a 30-storey hotel tower.

The building’s façade features a skin of aluminium tiles.

Alice Dietsch, director at AL_A, said: ‘The role of the shopping mall in Asia is changing dramatically as they begin to overtake public institutions and squares as a place for meeting and socialising. This is increasingly true in Thailand, in particular amongst younger generations. We hope that Central Embassy will set a new precedent for this typology, and encourage audiences to engage with a strong sense of architectural value in commercial developments.’

The retail podium is set to open in May 2014, with the hotel tower following next year.

AL_A's Bangkok Central Embassy

The architect’s view

‘The podium façade, which sits so distinctly against the backdrop of the city, will house a retail experience that is totally unique to the country, if not the region; one that has been inspired by the sophistication of major Western and Asian shopping malls, but that is deeply rooted in the culture and context of Thailand.

‘The elevated form that rises from the podium wraps around two vertical light wells, opening up internal spaces to reveal stepped terraces, and dividing hotel functions; private guest-related programmes face the gardens of Lai Nert Park, while the hotel bar, reception lounge and sky terrace face the city centre.

‘Drawing on motifs and patterns found in traditional Thai architecture, the external skin of the building is characterised by a range of extruded aluminum tiles, to create a dynamic pattern in response to external conditions. The distribution of tiles creates a moiré-like pattern, articulated by the play of light and reflects both the sky and the city. This rich pattern visually emphasizes the wrapping form of the building as well as providing scale and texture to the opaque frontage at podium level. All glazed areas are designed to merge seamlessly with the aluminum skin.’

AL_A's Bangkok Central Embassy

Project data

Location Bangkok, Thailand
Type of project retail, entertainment and hotel complex
Client Central Retail Corporation
Architect AL_A
Consultant architect of record Pi Design (Bangkok)
Project manager PPS
Structural engineer Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick (Thailand) and Arun Chalseri Consulting
Service engineer MITR (Bangkok)
Facade consultant Meinhardt Facade Technology
Quantity surveyor Davis Langdon Seah (Bangkok)
Lighting Isometrix/Inverse
Interior design Yabu Pushelberg
Landscape P Landscape Co
Kitchen consultants Tri Arc Enterprise
Branding Avokro
Hotel operator Park Hyatt
Main contractor Italian Thai
Facade contractor Permasteelisa (Thailand)

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