MahaNakhon – Bangkok

Project Description

HINGE MAGAZINE
MahaNakhon – Bangkok

Sep, 2009 [View PDF]

Celebrity architect and OMA Partner Ole Scheeren has crafted a design for what will be the tallest building in Bangkok, a 77-storey mixed-use skyscraper. Poised to become a landmark in the bustling Thai capital, MahaNakhon (which translates as ‘great metropolis’) is a joint venture between Bangkok’s PACE Development and the Industrial Buildings Corporation Public Company. The two corporations seek to build an architectural feature that will be a symbol of confidence in the future, and act as a gateway to Southeast Asia.

Standing at 150,000sq m tall, the MahaNakhon tower will offer 200 customised single-level duplex homes, each with a ‘skybox penthouse’ created from the tower’s protruding glass ‘boxes’. The homes are to be managed by Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bangkok. The rest of the building will be occupied by The Bangkok Edition, a 150-room boutique hotel jointly developed by Marriott International and hotelier Ian Schrager. The hotel will feature a multi-level rooftop Sky Bar and restaurant. MahaNakhon will also have an outdoor public plaza called MahaNakhon Square.

Equipped with 10,000sq m of luxury retail space with gardens and terraces built at various levels to accommodate restaurants, cafes and a 24-hour marketplace, the landscaped plaza, it is hoped, will become the ‘it’ public destination within the city. It will also feature an adjacent freestanding seven-storey building called The Cube, which will comprise multi-level indoor/outdoor terraces that correspond to The Hill, another seven-storey area at the tower’s base, housing luxury retail and dining. The outdoor atrium of The Cube will be accessible to the public via an above-ground pedestrian link from the CBD Skytrain.

Unlike most traditional towers, all examples of seamless, inert, glossy totems, Scheeren’s uber-modern design is an attempt to actively engage the city, thus MahaNakhon’s pixillated or carved and exposed ‘under-skin’ is designed to embrace and connect with the surrounding urban fabric. The terraces and protrusions (which also look digitally pixillated) echo ancient mountain landscapes, and have been conceived to convey the energy, intensity and inclusiveness of Thaisociety. Scheeren dispels initial impressions of the building’s ‘decaying’ urban design, explaining that its carved-out appearance introduces a ribbon of pixels that circles the tower’s full height, as if excavating portions of the elegant glass curtain to reveal the life of the goings-on within. The result is an arresting profile of the Bangkok skyline with features that house the multifunctional complex in an intelligent and strategic manner. MahaNakhon’s homes range from 1350 to 8,930sq ft and boast 3.5 metre-high ceilings. Scheeren’s design also does away with typical tower-podium typology, instead rendering a skyscraper that merges with the city by gradually ‘dissolving’ the mass as it moves vertically between ground and sky.