A new wine bar set in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, Thailand’s former capital, blends sophisticated, contemporary design with locally sourced plywood to create a surprisingly elegant tourist attraction and leisure place for wine enthusiasts.
The Wine: Ayutthaya, by Bangkok Project Studio, is situated on a bank of the Chao Phraya River, allowing guests to gaze out at the surrounding natural beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project was commissioned to stimulate the local economy and draw visitors to the area.
Called by the architects “a work of art to revive the spirit of this once majestic ancient city,” the project demonstrates architectural creativity and beautiful materiality in a truly contextual design.
Standing 9 meters high and 11 meters wide [30 by 36 feet], this single-story structure is designed around large existing trees and incorporates a carefully crafted landscape that seamlessly blends the architecture with nature. The structure is made entirely of steel-reinforced plywood, mirroring the local timber-framed houses. As plywood is normally a material used for interior and furniture design, this specific design decision showcases its potential as a structural material, strong enough to form a permanent edifice.
The architects created a knockdown waffle structural system for each façade as well as the roof. This boxy pattern provides a deep three-dimensionality to the project that can be perceived from both inside and outside the building. It also filters light evenly throughout the space and helps cool down the interior atmosphere.
One-millimeter-thick PVC sheets hang the length of the exterior walls, lightly enveloping the building in an undulating vitreous veil. This exterior addition softens the appearance of the structure and gives a glimpse of activities inside. It also helps guard the building against rain and humidity.
The interior is divided into four platforms of various heights, all serving as unique vantage points to view the nearby river. Five spiral staircases are joined to each platform from the ground-floor wine bar where seating is set up.
According to the architects, the combination of wood and wine brings a tasteful tone to the project. “Wine-drinkers can enjoy another depth of experience through the sense of smell mixture between plywood and wine.”
Images via Bangkok Project Studio