AL_A, the london-based architecture practice led by amanda levete, has completed ‘central embassy’ — a 37-storey mixed-use tower in thailand. located within the former gardens of the british embassy on bangkok’s ploenchit road, the 1.5 million square foot project features a seven-floor retail podium with a 27-storey high-rise hotel. the two elements are brought together with a looped form that combines the plinth and tower as one sinuous structure.

all images © hufton + crow



AL_A’s design seeks to unite traditional craftsmanship with digital design technologies. clad in 300,000 aluminum tiles — each with two reflective surfaces — the building’s façade builds on thailand’s tradition of intricate pattern making. the distribution of tiles creates a moiré-like effect, which is articulated by the play of light and the reflections from both the sky above and the bustling city below.

the project is located within the former gardens of the british embassy in bangkok



designed to embrace the city, ‘central embassy’ includes a series of external terraces and balconies. the elevated form that rises from the podium wraps around two vertical light wells, opening up internal spaces to reveal stepped terraces. this gesture also divides the hotel functions: private guest-related programs are oriented towards nai lert park, while the hotel bar, reception lounge, and sky terrace face the city center.

the project features a seven floor retail podium with a 27-storey high-rise hotel



central embassy goes to the heart of what makes bangkok such an extraordinary place,’ says amanda levete, principal of AL_A. ‘by embracing advanced technology as well as local heritage and culture, the building is local to its surrounding yet simultaneously redefines the location. a distinctive new presence on the skyline that is both fresh and exciting, central embassy nonetheless feels like it has always belonged here, already a valued part of the city.’

the building is clad with 300,000 aluminum tiles



the project’s completion comes in advance of the opening of AL_A’s extension of the victoria & albert museum, which will take place in june this year. the much-anticipated scheme forms the museum’s most significant architectural intervention in over 100 years, and will add a new entrance, the world’s first porcelain-tiled courtyard, and one of the largest temporary exhibition spaces in europe.

the building’s façade builds on thailand’s tradition of intricate pattern making

the finish creates a moiré-like effect

the elevated form that rises from the podium wraps around two vertical light wells

the atria open up internal spaces to reveal stepped terraces

a looped form combines the plinth and tower as one sinuous structure

the hotel bar, reception lounge, and sky terrace face the city center



project info:


client: central retail corporation
architect: AL_A
principal: amanda levete
project director (concept to stage D): alice dietsch
project director (stage DD to completion): diba salam
team: ho-yin ng, maximiliano arrocet, stefano bertotti, alex bulygin, filippo previtali, bruce davison, peter feldman, david flynn, chris geneste, alvin huang, yoo jin kim, naoki kotaka, may leung, desislava lyutakova, cyril manyara, monica noguero, eoin o’dwyer, adam peacock, giulio pellizzon, fred pittman, filippo previtali, jakob pryzblo, tanya rainsley, irene shamma, joy natapa sriyuksiri, jurgen strohmayer, paula vega, michael wetmore, claudia white

architect of record: pi design
project manager: PPS
structural engineer: scott wilson kirkpatrick and arun chalseri consulting
service engineers: MITR
façade consultant: meinhardt facade technology
quantity surveyor: davis langdon seah
lighting: isometrix/inverse
interior design (hotel): yabu pushelberg
landscape: p landscape co
kitchen consultants: tri arc enterprise
branding: avokro
main contractor: italian thai
façade contractor: permasteelisa











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