Siamese Ratchakru is a multi-use project comprising of two towers born from an abandoned project in a center of Bangkok. The overall scheme consists of a live/work tower with flexible spaces, a high density condominium. The position of the structure was prescribed as the foundations had already constructed, restricting the possible width of the internal spaces and deciding the position of the façades in relation to the boundaries, leading to a particularly complex design challenge.
Closest to the public interface – the main road and the BTS Skytrain – is the shorter, 15 storey live/work tower. This tower consists of 1 bedroom apartments with attached work spaces of varying sizes, responding to the introduction of new, small businesses in the area. Existing column positions prescribed the tower’s position close to the site’s side boundaries, and subsequently disallowed any opportunity for openings. The architectural response was to increase the potential façade length on the unrestricted ends, by carving into the block designed previously, so that the linear length of the window line was increased, allowing for multiple openings to maximize natural light and ventilation. This allowed an opportunity to add planter boxes and balconies on the tops of the façade projections.
Tucked behind the live/work tower, sits the high-density 27 storey condominium tower, consisting of a range of units, from 1 to 3 bedrooms units to duplexes on the top floor. Restrictions of the prescribed column positions made for a relatively narrow configuration, and so careful planning was essential to create the best possible internal environment. This was done by the folding of the shared walls to build in kitchen units and wardrobe cabinets. These units see their balconies project at an angle, allowing optimized views toward the city and away from the live/work tower in front.
Siamese Ratchakru is an example of how abandoned projects can be reimagined and improved upon with more current inspirations and ideas.