No, this Thai skyscraper is not falling down

Buro Ole Scheeren leaves a few chunks out of the country's tallest skyscraper to reveal its inner life
MahaNakhon by Buro Ole Scheeren
MahaNakhon by Buro Ole Scheeren

From a distance, it looks as if chunks of masonry might have crumbled off Bangkok’s newest and tallest skyscraper. In fact, MahaNakhon tower’s crumbling appearance is intentional, as German architect Ole Scheeren wanted to “reveal the inner life of the building”.

It is the latest in a long line of exciting Asian structures by Scheeren, who was responsible for all OMA’s work in the region until he left Rem Koolhaas’s practice in 2010.


MahaNakhon by Buro Ole Scheeren
MahaNakhon by Buro Ole Scheeren

To achieve MahaNakhon’s effect, a pixelated cut-away spirals up the outside of the building, ribbon-like. Whatever is going on deep in the floor plates will only be visible from neighbouring high-rises in the capital’s Central Business District.

At 314m it is 10m taller than the city’s former record-holder Plan Architects’ Baiyoke II Tower, which was built 19 years ago.

These random “glass skyboxes” are double-height and give occupants indoor and outdoor living with views over the city and the Chaophraya River.

Sitting on 6.3 acres next to Chongnonsi Sky Train Station, the £486m, 77-storey structure has 200 serviced apartments and a 150-room hotel. At the very top is a three-floor Sky Bar and restaurant, with double-height spaces and an outdoor rooftop bar with 360° views.


MahaNakhon by Buro Ole Scheeren
MahaNakhon by Buro Ole Scheeren

“The design of MahaNakhon dismantles the typical tower and podium typology, creating a skyscraper that melds with the city by gradually ‘dissolving’ as it flows downward to meet the ground,” says Scheeren, who set up Buro Ole Scheeren, who now has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Bangkok as well as Berlin.

Its developers are local luxury property and hospitality firm PACE Development, hence Ritz-Carlton as the name behind the tower’s residences.

For more daring architectural developments in East Asia and beyond order a copy of MAD Works our new book dedicated to MAD Architects.

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