Foundation Poured for Central Embassy


While visiting the Central Chidlom department store the other day, I caught this picture of the construction progress on Central Embassy, the new 37-story high-end retail and hotel complex that is expected to open in 2013. The piles have been driven and foundation concrete had been poured. Subterranean work continues and I’d expect to see columns start to rise in the near future.

Central Embassy 2

The design is eye-catching, eight stories of retail topped with a twisting tower (to house Bangkok’s first Park Hyatt hotel) meant to echo a double helix. The building is covered on the outside with glimmering diamond-shaped tiles that recall traditional Thai temple roofs. Central Embassy will connect with the existing Central Chidlom complex through the walkway on the left of the picture. A bit harder to see is a second walkway, in the center-right of the picture, which will connect to the Ploenchit BTS Skytrain station.

Here’s an aerial view that I annotated to help orient you:

Central Embassy 1 Annotated

The complex is built on land bought from the British Embassy. As one of the last undeveloped properties in the very pricey Withayu-Ploenchit area, the sale brought in hefty proceeds. In a bit of a kerfuffle, many locals were incensed that the British government profitted so handsomely from the sale of land that was gifted from the Thai government many generations ago. Finally, the Thai government clarified that the land had been given to the British government and was theirs to do with as they wished.

I suppose you could (easily) argue that the last thing we need is another mall and another hotel. No argument from me. That said, I like that we’re seeing continued infill development around transit lines. This increased density is preferable to continued sprawl. Not that the infill is somehow eliminating the sprawl, but you get the idea. Also, the design of this building is unique and contributes to Bangkok’s continued ascent from an architectural backwater to a city with an interesting skyline.

Extra: Here’s a link to a snazzy promotional video for the new complex, giving you all sorts of aerial fly-bys from different angles.


0 thoughts on “Foundation Poured for Central Embassy

  1. That’s an interesting looking design. If the city can support the density – why not continue building up? I just hope there’s still some green space in the urban jungle.

  2. looks like it will be a very nice building, but i just don’t see the double helix shape. when i think double helix i expect dna-backbone structure!

  3. Nice entry, I enjoyed reading this. I prefer designs like this as opposed to the surrounding buildings, which from afar, look quite ordinary.Do you have a passion for buildings? Or is it only in Bangkok that this interests you? I ask because, to me, it seems like your main interests are food (cooking and teaching), airplanes (and their emergency procedures) and buildings and town planning.

  4. @Lovegrove – The child sex trade is a problem here as in many countries. In the past few years, the Thai government has taken great strides to address the problem and its incidence is decreasing. That said, there is still work to be done. At the same time, the child sex trade occurs in many “civilised” societies in the west, too, so you might need a broader brush. 

  5. @stepaside_loser – In high school, architectural drafting was an area of emphasis for me. I considered it as a career and also studied urban planning for a semester in university before changing schools. I continue to find issues of development and infrastructure interesting on many levels.@BumbleBoTuna – And another hotel!@CurryPuffy – There are more and more of these ultra high end hotels moving in.@murisopsis – Sometimes I think they are just kidding about the traditional, local design elements. This is meant to remind me of a temple roof? Really!?@beowulf222 – Yup… progress. LOL@kunhuo42 – Maybe if you consider the opposing walls of the structure?@ElusiveWords – Well, the British embassy behind it has quite a few trees…@catstemplar2 – I won’t be able to afford them, I expect! =(@Inciteful – Certainly not your run-of-the-mill mall.

  6. @christao408 –  Yes, the coerced sex trade, adult and child, is a universal problem. We need specific independent departments of “Untouchables” with public funding to really go after the monsters in a number of areas.

  7. @icebladz – Yes, it is kind of hard to see, if not impossible. The claim that it was a double-helix design came from the developer’s own promotional materials. I guess they are seeing what they want to see!

  8. It’s quite beautiful. For some reason, I want it to be a shopping mall so I can marvel at how wonder it is inside and outside 😡 (its probably not the best use of such an exquisite building like that)

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