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Rendering to Reality: Amanda Levete Completes Glimmering Bangkok Central Embassy

AL_A’s 1.5-million-square-foot tower is the first of its kind in Thailand by a British architect.

Sydney Franklin Sydney Franklin

Amanda Levete is the first British architect to ever complete a tower in Thailand. With Bangkok Central Embassy, a massive 1.5-million-square-foot mixed-use project in the city’s main commercial corridor, Levete’s London-based firm AL_A has created a new architectural landmark for the country’s capital city.

Located within the gardens of the former British Embassy along Ploenchit Road, the towering structure sits on a seven-story retail podium and features a 27-story Park Hyatt Hotel. The fluid shape of the construction is unlike anything else in the city. According to the architects, its continuous looped form provides a seamless and “intuitive merging between plinth and tower” while also dissecting between the building’s various programs.

The elevated portion of the building rises from the podium and wraps around two vertical light wells in a figure-eight form. Naturally lit stepped terraces are formed within these wells, dividing the towering hotel into its distinct functions. Private guest-related programs face the gardens of the adjacent Nai Lert Park, while the hotel bar, reception lounge and sky terrace face the city center.

The shimmering façade builds on the Thai tradition of intricate pattern-making. Clad in 300,000 aluminum tiles, each with two reflective surfaces, the building mirrors both the chaos of the city and the sky itself, says AL_A. The tiles are distributed to create a moiré — or rippled — effect. From every angle, the embassy shines in a new unexpected way.

AL_A designed the sky-high hotel with a crystal-clear glass façade facing south and west. Strips of glass curtain wall and aluminum line and wrap the structure, providing incredible views of the city below.

“Central Embassy goes to the heart of what makes Bangkok such an extraordinary place,” says Levete. “By embracing advanced technology as well as local heritage and culture, the building is local to its surroundings 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.”

Photos by Hufton + Crow via AL_A