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WOHA’s climate-specific tower in Bangkok, Thailand

February 26, 2010

Hello, and a happy friday to you!

Okay, so I am going to skip Colorful Fridays (just this week!) to tell you about a really cool architectural design I recently discovered. The Met, a structure designed by Singapore architecture firm WOHA to incorporate housing, hotel and retail was completed in 2009 and is the first of its kind to consider its local climate. It rises up 69 stories from the highly congested, urban environment of Bangkok but is different from most other skyscrapers because it has perforations and focuses on indoor-outdoor living.

Originally, high-rise towers were modeled after ones built in cities like New York and Chicago where winters are cold and winds howl. The structures were built as barricades so residents could go inside and feel protected from the outdoors. But, in Bangkok, the climate is tropical year round with fairly gentle winds. WOHA figured that they could use this climate to their advantage, and they built The Met.

bottom right photo by Tim Griffith; others by Patrick Bingham

The Met is designed with staggered blocks, separated by large perforations in the building that are conducive to cross-ventilation and light penetration. All units in the building face north-south and have balconies with living planters and screens. The exterior of the building is protected from direct sunlight by green creeper screens and overhanging ledges. When the breezes flow through the building, they cool it off enough that most residents don’t need air-conditioning.

There are sky terraces that link the blocks together and provide communal areas that have barbecues, libraries, spas and other facilities. There are sky gardens and pools on some of the terraces. The apartments interact with this outdoor environment with full height glazing and many of them are high enough to feel separated enough from street-level where pollution, dust, and noise are more noticeable.

I think designing a structure that is built around vertical open shafts is such a brilliant idea. It allows the building to essentially breathe on its own so we don’t have to pump it full of air-conditioning. Architecture should always be in response to its local environment, that way it’ll be the most efficient and well-designed.

The Met also has this glorious looking pool that just makes me want to jump in. Wouldn’t you want to live here? I do.

photo by Patrick Bingham

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. judistringbean permalink
    February 27, 2010 8:35 am

    Your masthead is awesome! By Jove I think you got it!

    The buildings are amazing!!

    Thanks for enriching my day and giving me lots to think about!

  2. Jonathan Bouton permalink
    February 28, 2010 9:56 am

    Thinking about all the energy that would be saved if these were built (and accepted) in the temperate regions of the US. Who doesn’t prefer a breeze to air conditioning?! I wonder if this concept works well with the shipping containers stacked up as homes. Didn’t you highlight them in an earlier article?

  3. mah tee permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:45 am

    i agree.. truely a great concept! it took so long to bring up some innovative, natural architecture into housing in bangkok. the interiors are stunnig and bring THE perfect contrast to the brutal looking facade (which fits again into the dusty cityscape of bkk)…
    but dont think thai people would desist from having their aircon installed anyhow (especially those who can affort THE MET). just have a closer look!

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