The BOTLC project presented opportunities to tackle two major issues simultaneously; preservation of National heritage and lack of public space for Bangkok.
The brief was to transform the redundant, historically significant, Thailand’s first note printing works into an Economic-Cultural Centre. The existing building was a factory and therefore has an impermeable quality. The adaptation removed solid walls and alter circulation routes so that pedestrians can penetrate to the very core of the building, reflecting its openness.
The completed design offers larger public area than the brief specified within the initial budget. The building has a mixture of paid and unpaid areas to ensure accessibility to the riverfront for all. As much of the existing site was kept as possible, careful considerations were made in the context of historical value and functional practicality. A clerical building adjacent to the site access road was demolished to create a proper approach from the street. Landscape steps were inserted to invite people to the second floor above dam level, creating a sense of arrival and allowing visitors to fully appreciate the river. Original finishes are retained, and new additions are expressed via a simplified language. The existing building showcased cutting edge design and construction technology of its time.
The renovation continues this heritage of technical achievements. The wide span convex casted concrete roof showcased Thai architecture and engineering prowess of the past, the ‘hovering’ ballroom on top of the existing vault represents the architect and engineers of today.
The transformation from mint to the BOTLC marked an important moment in history for Thais, as it symbolizes the opening of a previously state-owned restricted monument for the public to enjoy. The project highlights a period of Thailand architectural history, often forgotten. Because these buildings are not listed and protected like temples and palaces, public interest in the BOTLC and modern architecture will be the best deterrence against demolition which has happened to others landmark in recent years.
The project saved a national monument, allows the public to reconnect with Thailand’s past and Bangkokians to reconnect with our beloved Chao Phraya.
Material Used :
1. V&P – Expanded Metal ‘Expanded Aluminum’
2. AGC Flat Glass Plc – Insulated Laminated Glass with Low-E
3. WURKON (Thailand) Co., Ltd. - Furnishing