SOM Explains the Design for Thailand’s Largest Private-Sector Development Ever

Known for its web of street-level bustle, Bangkok is now poised to become a lot more vertical. A new 40-acre development, planned by architecture firm SOM, will soon introduce a group of glass-clad skyscrapers to the Thai capital. Set to open by 2025, the $3.5 billion development expects to draw over 60,000 people to live and work there.

The district will occupy a prominent site directly adjacent to the beloved Lumphini Park, known as the city’s Central Park. A major transportation node, it sits at the intersection of Wireless Road, a well-trafficked tree-lined pedestrian route; Sathorn Road, a major commercial street; and Rama IV, one of the city’s major thoroughfares. An on-site transit hub links the district to Bangkok’s metro system.

The mixed-use development will include five office towers, five hotels, three condominiums, and a range of retail and cultural facilities. Everything will be linked by landscaped open space and civic areas.

SOM has taken into account Bangkok’s climate, a tropical mix of heat and humidity, punctuated with occasional—but intense—rainstorms. The firm did this not only by using sustainable technologies (such as a centralized energy core that provides energy across the district more efficiently), but also by looking to the local vernacular. ”

The traditional architecture of the region addresses this [climate] by creating spaces that are protected from the sun and rain, but [are] also open-air to take advantage of breezes for natural cooling,” says Scott Duncan, design partner at SOM. In keeping with this logic, the design positions buildings in tightly spaced clusters such that each provides shade for the other, linked by open, breezy streets with porches and coverings to protect from sun and rain. “It’s both very traditional and very sustainable,” says Duncan

Duncan’s estimation, the development will be something of an extension of Bangkok’s famous street life. “We saw the district’s verticality as an opportunity to bring the energy of Bangkok’s streets skyward.

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