Wednesday, 3 February 2010

New Bangkok Icon - The Central Embassy Bangkok

Amanda Levete, famous for what critics have called 'blog architecture' has designed a unique and eye catching hotel and commercial shopping space in the heart of Bangkok.

The building will be called Central Embassy Bangkok. It will be on the primary commercial artery of the city, Ploen Chit Road, in the former British Embassy Gardens in Nai Lert Park. Work is due to start this year and finish in 2013. It is an extremely ambitious project, and not without risk in these troubled financial times. If and when it is built it will in some ways define Bangkok. For like Bangkok it embraces tradition and modernity and tries to produce a synthesis that is startling and aesthetically pleasing. You look at the pictures below and decide for yourself.

The Central Embassy Bangkok will combine a 7-storey retail podium with a 30-storey 6-star hotel. It will have an incredible 1.5 million square feet of internal space. The key feature of the building is the sinuous and twisting coil that starts at one end of the structure and rises to a peak at the other end. This is the key aspect that has been influenced by Thai architecture, it is a blade runner style Naga or snake found in Thai temple architecture. To re-inforce the traditional Thai aspect of the twisting coil, millions of bespoke ceramic tiles are going to placed on the surface to break up the monotony of the vast space.

Within the coil or naga will be 2 vertical light wells which will connect the retail podium to the hotel complex. The hotel will include courtyards and gardens incorporated into the central naga motif.

It is, in my lay man opinion, an inspired idea. However, the main base of the building from a side ways angle has a blobby nondescript shape that detracts from the elegance of the dynamic twisting coil. As you can see from the pictures below, the same cannot be said for the bird's eye view which reveals a sleek s-shape in the bones of the building.

What is certain is that Bankok inhabitants will love it. They love huge shopping malls and take pride in the modernity of their city; and no doubt, they will easily recognise the naga motif and see the justness of its use.