Thai malls ‘overtake public institutions’ Central Embassy’s architect says

Architects’ Journal published a Q&A yesterday with Amanda Levete’s work on the latest build going up on Bangkok’s Mall Street.

Amid all the usual architect porn of facade-sitting, form-wrapping, terrace-revealing and skin-merging, the UK-based architect for Central Embassy had some candid words about Thailand’s embrace of consumerist culture.

“The role of the shopping mall in Asia is changing dramatically as they begin to overtake public institutions and squares as a place for meeting and socialising,” she said in the interview published yesterday. “This is increasingly true in Thailand, in particular amongst younger generations.”

So don’t hold your breath for any new concert halls, parks or other community facilities.

Her firm AL_A designed the 140,000-sqm mall, which is set to open in May in what had been the gardens of the British Embassy.

One less garden, one less opportunity for park space in exchange for another mall. But perhaps the Brits were happy to trade away their tea spot to bring some work to one of their own.

Levete said she hopes the mall becomes an adequate substitute for meaningful, noncommercial culture; a place where young people can hang out and shop without ever engaging their imaginations.

At least that seemed the best Architect-to-English translation of:

“We hope that Central Embassy will set a new precedent for this typology, and encourage audiences to engage with a strong sense of architectural value in commercial developments.”

Read more at Architects’ Journal.

Photos: AL_A

Leave a Reply