Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Bangkok Architecture

The typical experience of Bangkok architecture is one of randomness and ad hoc alterations as you move around the city. It is a short distance from modernist centers like Siam and Chidlom to shanty housing thrown up along the klongs and the train tracks.

Often the glare and the loud music, not to mention the razzmatazz, of certain places masks old and functional buildings, quickly put up. All over the city you see 'stacking' - blocks of concrete units, often hotels, laid next to each other overlooking narrow roads.

Around the city you see odd attempts at architectural statement. Besides the famous examples of the National Stadium and the famous religious buildings of the capital there are plenty of small details that strike you as not quite successful and perhaps dated.

The boom years in the 2000s when the world property market was bouyed by record high share prices meant a lot of money was available for big building projects. Moreover building condominium units allowed agents to sell to foreigners freehold titles.Along the waterfront of the Chao Phraya River from Khao San down to Sukhumvit and beyond you see skycrapers with modernist and bold touches. Really selling itself and the city.

There is now an over-supply of top-end accommodation in Bangkok and so major Bangkok commercial projects have slowed down. Investment is down and the Baht is in danger of becoming too expensive for export and so major public works is less.

Despite all these shortcomings, Bangkok remains the benchmark for South East Asian architecture and town planning. The city continues to change and throw up buildings that typify a style and a new trend.


River Shanty


Mock Italian

Waterfront development


Dated 2000s architecture