forest-inspired terminal with indoor waterfall planned for bangkok airport

forest-inspired terminal with indoor waterfall planned for bangkok airport

DBALP — the architecture firm led by duangrit bunnag — has been selected to design a major new terminal building at bangkok’s suvarnabhumi airport. the scheme references thailand’s lush, vegetation-filled landscapes with a design that immerses passengers within a ‘forest’ environment. between the airport’s passenger and commercial buildings, the design team plans to construct a tropical setting that features a cascading waterfall.


all images and video courtesy of DBALP / duangrit bunnag architect limited



however, the design has proved to be somewhat controversial with some commenters noting apparent similarities with a project by japanese architect kengo kuma. duangrit bunnag has denied these claims, telling the standard, (via the bangkok post): ‘I didn’t copy anyone else’s work. those who follow my work will know that I created a similar image in my previous designs, such as for a hotel in sri lanka.’

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
exterior view of the proposed new terminal building at bangkok’s suvarnabhumi airport



the design itself comprises two modular structures, that measure 36×36 meters and 18×18 meters respectively. supported by distinctive wooden columns that appear as giant trees, these enclosures cover a total of 348,000 square meters. meanwhile, the indoor forest, which spans 16,132 square meters, is designed to be a ‘live demonstration of how human beings could inherit the natural tropical ecological system’.

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
giant tree-like columns support two modular structures



to realize the project, DBALP is working in collaboration with japanese firm nikken sekkei, as well as six other companies. plans for the new suvarnabhumi international passenger terminal were approved by the airport of thailand (AOT) board of directors, with tender documents now being drawn up.

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
the entrance to the terminal building

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
vegetation is found throughout the scheme

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
the scheme is defined by its dramatic columns

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
the tropical setting features a cascading waterfall

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
an aerial view of the site

DBALP suvarnabhumi airport terminal
the terminal building illuminated at night

  • It looks extremely chinese……..

    Arnolad says:
  • It looks absolutely fantastic!

    Patrick says:
    started in the 1970s completed in 2005 with much pocket lining along the way

    fitting that the article above ends with this
    “with tender documents now being drawn up.”

    Stephen says:
  • Chinese…???…Perhaps Asian or ancient…???

    I agree, very beautiful and if done properly very ecologically sustainable and durable…

    Perhaps this is why the acient “Dugong” (斗拱) styles have been adapted and used by such as the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (et al) in his work like the Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum, which is almost identical to this propose airport terminal…???

    Oxbow Designs says:
  • I dont think Chinese architecture “Dougong” – interlocking structure is questionable to represent Thai, perhaps you can see the building in Bangkok. Since 250 years ago, there are many iconic architectures, a record of combination of oversea culture to Thai buildings. Even in the grand palace, Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall where King of Siam inspired European architecture in the colonial states and blended with Thai, Sino-Portugese buildings in Phuket, Italian Renaissance & Neoclassic buildings such as Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and the abandoned Sathorn Unique. and actually, Thai population were mainly from Mon Khmer Lao Chinese and Malay, combined calling as Siamese. There is no wrong to combine other culture into Thai.

    The most importance is not only culture-representing appearance, but also the efficiency of the airport, the connection to the other terminals and the safety especially for the roof structure material.

    nix says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
486,312 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
privacy policy