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First look: Amanda Levete completes debut Thailand scheme

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Amanda Levete’s practice AL_A has completed this 36-storey hotel and retail Central Embassy scheme in Bangkok – the firm’s first completed scheme in Thailand

The 145,000m² development in the former gardens of the British Embassy, Ploenchit Road, includes a 27-storey hotel on top of a seven-storey shopping centre and a further two-storeys reserved for ‘technical’ uses.

The building, for Thai shopping store operator Central Group, is clad in 300,000 aluminium tiles and features two lightwells. According to the practice, the hotel and shopping centre are bound together using ‘the notion of a continual looped form’. 

However, the complex will open two years later than expected, having previously been set to complete in 2015.

Levete said: ‘By embracing advanced technology as well as local heritage and culture, the building is local to its surrounding yet simultaneously redefines the location.

‘A distinctive new presence on the skyline that is both fresh and exciting, Central Embassy nonetheless feels like it has always belonged here, already a valued part of the city.’

In June, AL_A is set to unveil its Exhibition Road Quarter for the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Roof plan

Roof plan

Source: AL_A

Roof plan

Architect’s view

The hotel and shopping mall are bound together using the notion of a continual looped form to give a more intuitive merging between plinth and tower and between the programmes.

The continuity of the tower line appears to break down the volume of the mass of the plinth, creating a structure that is asymmetrical in all dimensions.

The openness of the form embraces the city and sets up reciprocal views, with a series of terraces outside and balconies within to see and be seen.

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

Uniting traditional craftsmanship with digital design technologies, the design of the façade builds on Thailand’s tradition of intricate pattern making.

The exterior is clad in 300,000 aluminium tiles, each with two surfaces to reflect both the chaos of the city and the sky itself. Creating a dynamic pattern in response to external conditions, the distribution of tiles creates a moiré-like effect, articulated by the play of light and reflection along the varying profiles.

Al a central embassy © hufton crow n61

Al a central embassy © hufton crow n61

Source: Hufton + Crow

Central Embassy by AL_A

 

Project data

Location Bangkok, Thailand
Type of project Mixed-use (retail and hotel)
Client Central Retail Corporation
Architect AL_A
Architect of record Pi Design
Landscape architect P Landscape Co
Structural engineer Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and Arun Chalseri Consulting
M&E consultant MITR
Quantity surveyor Davis Langdon Seah
Lighting consultant Isometrix/Inverse
Main contractor Italian Thai
Main works tender date 2010
Start on site date 2011
Completion date May 2017
Gross internal floor area 145,000m2

Al a central embassy © hufton crow n16

Al a central embassy © hufton crow n16

Source: Hufton + Crow

Central Embassy by AL_A

 

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