Thailand’s tallest building MahaNakhon could be illegal because a foreigner designed it

Days after MahaNakhon made history as Thailand’s new tallest building, the luxury skyscraper has faced a legal controversy because it was designed by a foreign architect, which “breached” Thai labor laws.

The Thai Constitution Protection Association submitted a letter asking the Office of the Ombudsman to probe the construction of MahaNakhon, after it was publicized the 77-storey building was designed by a German architect Ole Scheeren.

Srisuwan Chanya, the association’s secretary-general, called for an investigation into whether it was negligence of duty on the part of the Labor Ministry and the Department of Employment, reported National News Bureau of Thailand.

“At least, this case will be an example that all buildings in Thailand must be the work of Thai architects and engineers only. You cannot let foreigners steal jobs from Thais,” Srisuwan said.

He claimed the construction violated the 1999 Foreign Business Act and the 2008 Alien Working Act since Architect was among 39 reserved professions for Thai nationals only.  

The association urged the Office of Ombudsman to examine the building’s blueprints, which were submitted to the Bangkok Governor for approval. He speculated that a Thai name may have been used as a stand-in for the foreign architect.

He further commented that we should all trust in the capability of Thai architects.

“I think Thai [architects] are also talented. Tall buildings like the Baiyok Tower were designed by a Thai architect. We need to trust them,” Srisuwan told Spring News.

“We have dozens of universities that teach civil engineering and architecture. If we don’t trust [our Thai workers], should we just abolish these fields of study in Thailand?”

“In the future, who would guarantee that our children would not lose their jobs to foreigners? The design of the building is a different topic in the case.”

MahaNakhon, which labeled itself as luxury mixed-use building, celebrated its title as the tallest building in Thailand on Monday with a dramatic light show. The building comprises of luxury condominium units and hotel, a retail space, and a 360-degree observation deck offering a scenic view of Bangkok.


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