It’s now possible to hover above the pixellated form of Ole Scheeren’s MahaNakhon Tower on a glass deck over 300 metres above ground level.
17 January, 2019
If you’ve travelled to Bangkok in recent years, there’s no doubt your eyes have been transfixed on the emerging pixellated form of Büro Ole Scheeren’s MahaNakhon Tower. The opening of an observation deck – a 4.5 by 17.5-metre walkable glass platform dubbed the ‘Skytray’ – at its peak marks the completion of the tower 11 years after it was commissioned.
The Skytray hovers 314 metres above ground level and offers 360-degree views of the city to anyone unshaken by vertigo.
MahaNakhon, which translates to ‘great metropolis’, has an urban spirit at its core. “The idea behind MahaNakhon was to take the life of the city and bring it up the tower in a dramatic, spiralling movement,” says Ole Scheeren, Principal of Büro Ole Scheeren, of the 77-storey complex.
He adds, “Even the very top of the tower is surrendered to the public, so there is not only a public square at the ground, but human activity rises along the pixelated shaft to the top floors of the building which are given back to the public domain.”
MahaNakhon contains 200 homes and serviced apartments, as well as a 150-room hotel. Retail spaces, cafes, restaurants and a landscaped public plaza comprise the 150,000-square-metre complex.
The tower has the look of being eroded. A pixelated ribbon coils around the tower, its glazed skin peeling open to reveal terraces and balconies – and signs of human life. The podium is similarly prised open; it is split into two parts that define the outdoor public plaza.
Says Scheeren, “The building is an exploration of bringing the inside and the outside closer together and to create living spaces that float high above the city. You can step out onto the terraces and transition to the open air, as people in the tropics live in a fluid condition between interior and exterior spaces. We are literally carving those possibilities into the tower and make these qualities accessible at staggering heights.”
MahaNakhon was commissioned in 2008 by Pace Development, and was the vision of Scheeren who was Partner-in-Charge at OMA at that time. It was developed over the last decade by Büro Ole Scheeren Thailand and its subsidiary HLS.
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