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German architect Ole Scheeren of Office for Metropolitan Architecture has designed a skyscraper for Bangkok in Thailand.
Called MahaNakhon, the building consists of a 77-storey glass tower.
A band of shifted, box-like elements breaks up the surface and creates terraces and balconies.
There will also be a public plaza, retail space, 200 homes, a hotel, bar and restaurant. Building is due for completion in 2010.
Images © OMA/Ole Scheeren.
See all our stories about OMA in our special category.
Here’s some more information from OMA:
Bangkok Rising: Construction to Begin on Ole Scheeren / OMA’s
MahaNakhon Bangkok’s Tallest Building to be a Lush Urban Oasis with The
Ritz-Carlton Residences, Public Square and Five-Star Edition Hotel
Collaboration with New York’s Ian Schrager to Be Completed 2012.
In the 125 years since William Le Baron Jenney’s ten-storey Home
Insurance Building in Chicago became the world’s ﬁrst skyscraper, the
spectacle of soaring towers has become increasingly common wherever
land is scarce, allowing cities to stack life ever taller, denser and
more dynamic. Like cathedrals and palaces of the past, skyscrapers
today deﬁne their cities’ identities as they shape the skyline. As the
late critic Herbert Muschamp wrote of these modern wonders,
“Contemporary architects reveal the inner world in the process of
adorning the outer one.”
Beginning in Fall 2009, the city of Bangkok – home to an estimated
15 million people – will start to embrace an unprecedented new
architectural manifestation of its extraordinary ‘inner world’ when
construction begins on MahaNakhon, a dazzling tower designed by
internationally celebrated German architect Ole Scheeren, Partner of
the Ofﬁce for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).
With MahaNakhon, Scheeren, whose many landmark projects include the
CCTV Tower in Beijing, has crafted a gleaming 77-storey skyscraper that
will be the tallest building in Thailand’s capital. The design moves
beyond the traditional formula of a seamless, inert, glossy totem, and
instead actively engages the city: MahaNakhon’s pixilated and carved
presence embraces and connects to the surrounding urban fabric rather
than overpowering it. Its glittering stacked surfaces, terraces and
protrusions will simultaneously create the impression of digital
pixilation and echo the irregularity of ancient mountain topography.
This architectural geography is conceived to convey the energy,
intensity and inclusiveness of Thai society and celebrate Bangkok’s
emergence as a true global capital, ﬁtting the Thai meaning of the name
MahaNakhon, translated as ‘great metropolis’. MahaNakhon is developed
by PACE Development Co., Ltd. of Bangkok with joint venture partner
Industrial Buildings Corporation Public Company Ltd (IBC).
The complex, at 150,000 square meters (approximately 1,6 million
square feet) seeks to communicate intimately with Bangkok from the
ground up: its series of components comprise MahaNakhon Square, a
landscaped outdoor public plaza intended as a new public destination
within the city; MahaNakhon Terraces, 10,000 square meters (nearly
110,000 square feet) of luxury retail space with lush gardens and
terraces spread over multiple levels for restaurants, cafes and a 24
hour marketplace; The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bangkok with 200
highly-customized single-level and duplex homes, each offering the
atmosphere of a skybox penthouse, managed by The Ritz-Carlton with
ﬁve-star amenities for all residents; The Bangkok Edition, a signature
boutique hotel with 150 hotel rooms, a collaboration between Marriott
International and renowned hotelier Ian Schrager; and a multi-level
roof-top Sky Bar and restaurant.
Sorapoj Techakraisri, CEO of PACE Development describes MahaNakhon
as, “the result of a strongly held wish to do something for Thailand
that is both an enduring architectural symbol and a very real and
practical example of a ﬁrm commitment to, and conﬁdence in, our
nation’s long term economic prosperity and cultural diversity.
MahaNakhon will be the city’s tallest building, but more signiﬁcantly
it will accurately represent the audacity of Bangkok today – the
optimism and strength of Thai culture and the value of that culture to
Asia and the rest of the world.”
Dalit Braun, CEO of IBC, commented, “Every nation needs a symbol of
conﬁdence in its future. We believe MahaNakhon will perfectly embody
the essence of a strong and forward looking country that is the gateway
to Southeast Asia while serving as a bold architectural landmark. IBC
feels especially privileged to be part of this truly imaginative
According to its developers, MahaNakhon will be completed in 2012.
Homes available at MahaNakhon will range in size from 125 square meters
(1,350 square feet) to 830 square meters (8,930 square feet) with
ceilings up to 3.5 meters high (approximately 11.5 feet).
With its distinctive sculptural appearance, MahaNakhon has been
carefully carved to introduce a three-dimensional ribbon of
architectural ‘pixels’ that circle the tower’s full height, as if
excavating portions of the elegant glass curtain wall to reveal the
inner life of the building – metaphorically and actually an
architecture that encloses and protects its inhabitants while revealing
the inner life of their city. The pixilation gives MahaNakhon an
arresting proﬁle on the skyline while generating a set of very special
features to house the diverse functions of the building complex in an
intelligently strategic way.
Ole Scheeren’s design for MahaNakhon dismantles the typical tower
and podium typology to render not a tower in isolation but instead a
skyscraper that melds with the city by gradually ‘dissolving’ the mass
as it moves vertically between ground and sky. This effect begins with
a series of generous, cascading indoor/outdoor terraces at The Hill –
the 7-storey area of tower’s base housing luxury retail and dining.
Here MahaNakhon’s architecture is articulated to evoke the shifting
protrusions of a mountain landscape. The Hill Terraces ﬁt keenly with
the lush, cultivated tropical gardens that give way to the city’s own
many green swaths.
MahaNakhon also features an adjacent freestanding 7-storey building
known as the Cube, with multi-level indoor/outdoor terraces
corresponding to those of the Hill Terraces across the expanse of an
outdoor atrium. The outdoor atrium forms a natural valley, offering a
network of social spaces with an extensive and carefully selected mix
of dining and leisure facilities that serve the general public via a
direct above-ground pedestrian link to the main CBD Skytrain station
and plaza-level access, The Ritz-Carlton Residences in the main tower
of MahaNakhon, as well as guests of The Bangkok Edition Hotel.
MahaNakhon Square, located in front of the tower, is intimately
connected to the space between The Hill and Cube. This dynamic public
plaza – intended as a meeting place, a spot for planned and spontaneous
cultural events – will be a landscaped retreat for the city’s
inhabitants, a gathering place, a rare venue for cultural and social
interactivity, with direct connection to the Chongnonsi Skytrain
station and future rapid bus transit system: an urban oasis that
provides refuge from the intense daily clamor of greater Bangkok while
offering constant easy access for reconnection to it.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences of MahaNahkon – 200 two to ﬁve bedroom
homes on ﬂoors 24 through 73 of the building – will occupy projecting
glass skyboxes with sweeping views and generous indoor/ outdoor spaces
with plunge pools and oversized terraces uncommon to high-rise living
in global capitals but well-suited to the tropical climate of Bangkok.
The tower’s ‘pixels’ have been designed to maximize unobstructed
panoramas for the residences, offering rare bird’s eye views of the
city and the Chaophraya River.
Residences located in the non-pixilated portions of the tower will
enjoy a parallel innovation: single-level and duplex units here offer
grandly scaled double height living spaces equipped with
custom-designed cassette curtain wall systems with ﬂoor-to-ceiling
window walls and operable “bi-fold balcony windows,” as well as
secondary operable ventilation panels. The bi-fold balcony windows
feature glazing units that fold open inwards to the ceiling, providing
an innovative and unprecedented conversion of indoor to outdoor space.
Thus the MahaNakhon tower enjoys great levels of permeability and a
relationship to the world beyond.
The top of the MahaNakhon tower houses a multi-level three-ﬂoor Sky
Bar and restaurant with dramatic double-height spaces, private dining
facilities for entertaining, and a rooftop outdoor bar with sweeping
360° views of the skyline and river, ﬂoating 310 meters (more than
1,000 feet) above the city.
About Ole Scheeren, Partner, OMA
Born in 1971 in Karlsruhe, Germany, Ole Scheeren is an
internationally acclaimed architect and partner along with Rem Koolhaas
in the ﬁrm of Ofﬁce for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Scheeren is
director of OMA Rotterdam and OMA Beijing and in charge of the ﬁrm’s
work across Asia. As partner-in-charge of OMA’s largest project to
date, he led design and construction of the China Central Television
Station (CCTV) and the Television Cultural Center (TVCC) in Beijing.
His current projects include MahaNakhon; The Scotts Tower and
Gillman Heights, both in Singapore; a media center in Shanghai; and the
Taipei Performing Arts Centre in Taiwan. Since 1999 he has directed
OMA’s work for Prada and completed the Prada Epicenters in New York
City (2001) and Los Angeles (2004). In 2006, Scheeren designed two
exhibitions – one for The Museum of Modern Art in New York and another
for Beijing – featuring the CCTV project. Ole Scheeren joined Rem
Koolhaas and OMA in 1995 and became partner in 2002
Previously he worked for architecture ﬁrms in Germany; collaborated
with 2×4, a graphic design ﬁrm in New York; and was engaged in a range
of projects through his own studio in the United Kingdom. He has been
involved in various art initiatives and exhibitions, such as Cities on
the Move in London and Bangkok, Media City Seoul, and the Rotterdam
Film Festival. Scheeren’s work is featured in the collections of major
museums, including the Museum of Modern Art MoMA, New York.
He writes and lectures on a regular basis. Educated at the
Universities of Lausanne and Karlsruhe, Ole Scheeren graduated from the
Architectural Association in London and received the RIBA Silver Medal.
Posted by Rose Etherington from dezeen.com
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