The architecture of Thailand is a striking illustration of its rich cultural heritage. It is a vibrant multi-cultural societythat is a great addition to its attractive appeal with stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a variety of delicious food and interesting cultures. Through time, the architecture in Thailand has changed and gone through several distinctive periods of development, including the known as the Pre colonial period, Modern period and Thai New Age. Each architectural style contributes to Thailand’s unique characteristic. Architectural styles include the French style or the Lifestyle, the Thai style or the Sukothai and the Tibetan architecture as well as the Chinese building such as the Great Wall. All these have developed in line with the developments and the evolution of the country’s position in relation to each other and have been influenced by various factors such as the weather, culture , and geography.
The creation of Thailand’s distinctive identity is the main focus of Thailand’s architecture. This was influenced by the country’s social and cultural development. The country’s uniqueness is reflected in the a variety of architectural styles and designs that comprise the contemporary Thailand architecture. Modern architecture emerged from Japanese influence and constructed projects that were undertaken during the post-war time period to respond to the increasing economic growth of Thailand. These modern constructions featured a distinctive’vertical stack system’ that made it possible to implement and the use of high-quality construction materials in a small space. This feature is shared by many modern cities in Thailand.
Post colonial architecture is an offshoot of the above, being developed by architects who were either removed or who were forced to seek refuge in Bangkok after the war. Modernist architectural principles in many aspects were adopted here, particularly master planning. Master planning, also known as architectural planning was introduced to Thailand by the British, who saw the importance of the discipline in their efforts to establish their authority over the Thai economy. These “colonialists” were able to develop master plans that focused on efficient use of space.
The modern architecture in Thailand can be traced back to the time when urban planning was initiated by King Rama V, the last of the Chakri dynasty. The foundations for modern Thai architecture was laid under the guidance of Dr. Rama V bin Supapha. He was the first postcolonial architect to adopt European interior design and construction concepts. His work was the catalyst for a broad shift towards master planning. The impact of Dr. Supapha’s revolutionary ideas can be seen in the wide use of such elements as diagonal planning, compartmentalisation, and systemisation in Thai master plans, which comprise a significant part of the premodern time.
Thai interior design is also heavily influenced by Islamic architecture and art especially the Arabic language and the Suq al Bahar Hadith. A lot of modern-day structures in Bangkok are inspired by structures such as the clock tower, dome and minaret. While there are a few Arabic words used in Bangkok architecture, the design of the buildings bears strong connections to Arabic culture and practices. Additionally, many structures in Bangkok use similar materials and techniques used in structures located in Mecca and Medina. Modern Bangkok architecture is built on traditional Islamic architectural styles.
Architecture in Thailand is not restricted to the traditional areas. Additionally, it takes into consideration the influence of Western architecture which has been incorporated into the Thai interior design. This idea was most prominently implemented through the extension of Royal Palace Complex onto the banks of Chao Phraya River. Even today, however efforts are being made to expand the scope of the building to the rural regions of Thailand. In the case of developments such as the Shuswap temple, Krabi, for example, traditional Thai brick is being replaced by pre-Roman terracotta, or stone.
Two major projects have been undertaken in Bangkok in recent years to provide an Western perspective to Thai architecture. One of these projects is the conversion of the Bangkok Stock Exchange Building (BSE) into a residential building. บริษัท สถาปนิก The architects involved in this project were keen to create a building which has a genuine look and feel of Bangkok. The introduction of modern features made it easier to lower the cost of these projects. Apart from the stock exchange, architects were also required to take on the daunting task of modernizing and refurbishing other structures like the Suan Lum Night Bazaar and Santichaeng Night Bazaar and the Santichaeng Sky Bazaar.
The architecture of Thailand is diverse. This is evident in Bangkok’s extensive use of pre-modern elements in residential projects. The introduction of modern residential designs and structures from architects such as Christopher Alexander and Robert Ebert resulted into a building that incorporates many modern features like flat roofs and column-free floors. In addition there is a increasing demand for interior design in the country. As more expatriates relocate to Bangkok to reside, interior designers are also getting a lot of attention.