London-based architect AL_A has completed a 37-story mixed-use tower in Bangkok, whose tapering silhouette lends a distinctive identity, and whose looped plan form is intended to give “a more intuitive merging between plinth and tower and between the programmes”. Built for a leading Thai retailer and department store operator and located within the former gardens of the British Embassy, the 1.5m-square-feet building merges a seven-storey retail podium, leisure facilities and a 27-storey hotel tower.
“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”, says the architect. “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 tower form wraps around two vertical light wells, opening up internal spaces to reveal stepped terraces.
The design of the facade draws on Thailand’s tradition of intricate pattern making. The exterior is clad in 300,000 aluminium tiles, each with two surfaces, reflecting the city and the sky.
“By embracing advanced technology as well as local heritage and culture, the building is local to its surrounding yet simultaneously redefines the location”, says Amanda Levete, principal of AL_A. “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.”