AL_A finishes aluminium-plated tower block in central Bangkok



Aluminum fabrics are wrapped by this very sharp tower of Amanda Levete's studio AL_A, which is located in the former gardens of the British Embassy in Bangkok.


AL_A ​​based in London has worked with local architects Pi Design on the 37-story tower called the Central Embassy, ​​which hosts a luxury mall at the podium and the five-star Park Hyatt on its upper floors.

Wide strips of textured aluminum tiles surround the podium before lifting to cover the strips of the mono-inclined shape of the tower. Narrower strips of non-textured tiles wrap the tower horizontally to indicate the corresponding floors and stairs.


The raised design of the aluminum tiles is designed as a reference to the intricate patterns of traditional Thai craftsmanship.

Survey compares the light and shadow spots created by the texture of the 300,000 aluminum tiles used on the facade with a moire, where the linear patterns are superimposed to create an undulating effect.


"Aluminum is perhaps the defining material of the central embassy and has been chosen because of its lightness and its potential for reflection. Each of the 300,000 plus extruded aluminum shingles has two surfaces to reflect both the chaos of the city and the sky, "Levete quoted.

"The facade is covered with only three variants of aluminum tiles, but it creates a shimmering moiré pattern, articulated by the play of light and reflection on the various profiles, as well as the motifs and motifs of traditional architecture Thai, "she added. "It is a design that is local to its surroundings while simultaneously redefining the location".


Constraints provide pockets of outdoor space in the lower levels, while a single cup just below the pinnacle forms a "sky deck" for the guests of the hotel.

Designed for the Retail Store Operator of the Central Retail Corporation, the seven-story podium of the building houses the luxury fashion label stores such as Chanel.


The plan reads like a figure-of-eight where the shopping center at the podium binds to the tower, a design designed to ensure continuity between the two distinct programs. Collectively, the hotel and shopping center have a plan of approximately 140,000 square meters.


Inside the mall, the escalators rise through a series of oblong openings to skylit.

A pair of wells channel natural light into the center of the tower and divide the hotel into two parts: private rooms facing Nai Lert Park and a series of common areas such as bar, reception and terrace on the Sky facing the city center of Ploenchit Road.


On January 26, Levete will discuss the project at the V & A for the opening of the exhibition area, coinciding with the unveiling of the new entrance that AL_A has completed for the museum.


Like the central embassy and the MAAT museum recently set up by the firm in Lisbon, V & A's new entrance also includes custom tiles. When it begins next month, it will present the first porcelain court in the world above a new gallery.


Stirling's award-winning architect Amanda Levete founded her company AL_A with directors Ho-Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch and Maximiliano Arrocet in 2009. She entered the inaugural list Dezeen Hot List - a guide for actors Keys to architecture and design industry.

The photograph is by Hufton + Crow.