Join the global
design collective

Available in print
and online

Cubes Magazine
Cubes Magazine

Opening Of Observation Deck Marks Completion Of MahaNakhon Tower

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.

  • Photo by Maxx Nikonov

  • Photo by Srirath Somsawat

  • Photo by Wison Tungthunya

  • Photo by Srirath Somsawat

  • Photos by Srirath Somsawat

  • Photo by Srirath Somsawat

BY Narelle Yabuka

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.


Photo by Srirath Somsawat

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.”


“It is a project that is strongly embedded in the city and the public realm, and expressively proclaims itself as an active part of it.”

Ole Scheeren


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.

MahaNakhon by-Buro-Ole-Scheeren-c-Buro-OS_10-Photo-by-Wison-Tungthunya

Photo by Wison Tungthunya

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.

MahaNakhon by-Buro-Ole-Scheeren-c-Buro-OS_13-Photo-by-Wison-Tungthunya

Photo by Wison Tungthunya

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.


Images courtesy of Büro Ole Scheeren.

CUBES is on instagram

Follow @cubes_indesignlivesg

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No posts found.

Make sure this account has posts available on

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers