The Met / WOHA

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

Architects: WOHA
Location: Bangkok,
Project Team: Alina Yeo, Carina Tang, Cheah Boon Kwan, Gerry Richardson, Janita Han, Jose Nixon Sicat, Puiphai Khunawat, Punpong Wiwatkul, Techit Romraruk, Richard Hassell, Sim Choon Heok, Wong Mun Summ
Associated Architects: Tandem Architects
Owner / Developer: Pebble Bay Thailand Co. Ltd
Mechanical & Electrical Engineers: Lincolne Scott Ng Pte. Ltd.
Civil & Structural Engineers: Worley Pte. Ltd.
Landscape Architects: Cicada Pte. Ltd.
Site area: 11,360.5 sqm
Project area: 112,833.5 sqm
Total cost: US $132 M
Project year: 2004-2005
Construction year: 2005-2009
Photographs: Patrick Bingham & Tim Griffith

© Patrick Bingham © Patrick Bingham © Patrick Bingham © Patrick Bingham

’s design explores strategies of high-density living in a high-rise tropical environment.

The concept for The Met is to develop an advanced form of high-rise living for the tropics, developed less from western temperate models than from research on possibilities of low-wind, tropical climate in dense urban conditions. This project implemented several ideas developed originally for a competition in Singapore for public housing.

20th floor plan
20th floor plan

High-rise designs have traditionally followed temperate models, which were developed in New York or Chicago with cold weather and strong winds. This resulted in apartments that are compact, insulated from the exterior and without sun shading or overhangs. Buildings are protective shells designed to shield the inhabitants from the harsh weather.

By contrast, design for the tropics should take advantage of year-round warm weather, capture breezes, and be laid out for cross-ventilation, incorporating outdoor spaces, verandas and gardens. Buildings are framing devices of minimal environmental devices for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

© Patrick Bingham
© Patrick Bingham
section DD
section DD

This scheme is designed from first principles to create a better lifestyle for central city living in the tropics. Going high in the tropics means cooler breezes, less dust, more privacy, more security, less noise, better views. To take advantage of these conditions, the design incorporates a staggered arrangement of blocks that allow cross ventilation, views to both the city and the river, and enhance the gentle breezes by funneling them between towers. The gaps between the towers are bridged with sky gardens that provide exterior entertaining areas directly off living areas – pools and gardens.

© Patrick Bingham
© Patrick Bingham

The orientation of the staggered blocks allows the sun to daily penetrate between the blocks on its regular tropical sun-path.

The apartments’ interiors interact strongly with the exterior, with full height glazing, balconies, sky gardens and sky terraces. Sun shading and overhangs provide weather protection and screen and filter the strong tropical light. Walls of greenery provide sun-shading that convert heat into oxygen, improving local air quality.

ground floor plan
ground floor plan
© Patrick Bingham
© Patrick Bingham

Common areas are spread throughout the towers, offering inhabitants a variety of experiences, from the intricately designed carpet of water, stone and vegetation at ground level, to the extensive indoor-outdoor facilities at the pool level, to libraries, barbecues, and function areas at sky terraces.

The hotel block explores related ideas, providing guests with huge outdoor balconies incorporating water features and trees, staggering up the façade to provide a layer of interlocking external spaces.

Cite: "The Met / WOHA" 11 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Alexander

    Amazingly insightful

  • sullka

    WOW!….that’s just…..massive.

    Kinda looks like the WTC competition proposal by Meier and Eisenman. Not saying that’s not original, just that as with the WTC proposal, the thing is just too big for its site.

  • dah

    I went recently to Bangkok and saw this building. It is probably one of the ugliest buildings i have seen in my life. Really bad taste..

  • laar

    inside is much better than outside

  • HW

    Gorgeous and innovative!

  • sparch

    if this building doesn’t dominate skyline as it does now, i would’ve loved it more

  • Zard0z

    An excellent example of form following function. Not outwardly pretty, but a fine prototype for future refinement.

  • Khiensak Seangklieng,Ph.D.ASA

    The world Architecture Awards 2009,inspired by thai-ness by Singaporean architects……cool…

  • archilocus

    1 spoon of Gotham City, 3 spoons of 1960s social housing block. The pixelated pattern in the facade does not add any extra quality to the building, even messing things up, while the interior seems neat and well detailed.
    I find rather strange to make two separate lift lobbies per floor (1 for 2 apartments) instead of trying to provide a larger one for 4 apartments which would certainly bring more spatial quality when you get out the lift. There might be some regulation behind that.

    • Pipol

      I am in Thailand and i can confirm you that there isnt regulation about lift.I also strange that Y WOHA pay attention to make the private for owner like this. Maybe the rich man dont wanna talk each other -_-”

      • corbus

        Privacy is always of uttermost importance for developers in Asia. Less apartments per lobby makes the units more exclusive, higher price, better to sell. That could have played a role.

  • Kuldeep

    This is wat we call as Out of Box thinking!! Superb!!

  • nello

    Another proof that the design of high-rise buidlings’ is really hard to handle.

  • adf

    but it’s really more about utopia…

  • Arnold

    logical, reliable (straight), quality, neat(accurate). here any architectural concept? Idea? In fact, it’s three masts(stems) connected betweem connections. Very simply architectural decision, but not interesting like architectural CONCEPT. But it’s GOOD WORK.

  • Tosh

    Awful. Purely awful. Hate the shape, hate the colours.. don’t understand it, don’t like it enough to get to know it..

  • JDR

    I think it is just fantastic!
    Why can a high-rise building not be a building.
    Why does a skyscraper has to be designed like a pen or any other design object.
    This is brutalism, constructivism and as much architecture as any other arty-farty curved skyscraper.

    Spot on.

  • Tee

    I really like it.
    From the front it looks very fragile and seems like made of grey carton i built my models of.
    From the thin side it seems much more massive althoug is very slender. Futhermore from this poit of view it has a cool technical charism (i don´t exactly know what it reminds me of, but it has something of a radiator grill or a cooling system with fins).
    The interior is really tasteful and simple
    and i also think it fits very well in the local environment.

  • Jamie


    My heart goes out to all the Thai’s who must endure the look of this monstrosity.

    • d

      i live here.

  • Katsudon

    Yeah JDR! Totally agree! I love it! Finally something constructed, not fashion designed! But i agree one thing about breaking so strongly the skyline… This is a bit tough! But i would love to see such design here in Shanghai! It would make sense with a few adaptations to the local climate.
    And also not very sure about the pixelated pattern is or isn’t a good idea.
    But definitely this is awesome!!

  • L dog

    dont judge a book by its cover. but the inside and outside do not really relate as much as i think they should. all in all i think this was very interesting home-like spaces inside.

  • d

    what’s up with those pattern??

  • levert

    its beautiful. no more wine and perfum bottles.
    just a plain old building with something to say (though I wouldn’t put that pattern on the sides…with plain color would be really beautiful).
    nice work.

  • w

    This is the most beautiful high-rise building in Thailand ever!!!! Everything is perfect, except for those ugly pattern decorated around the building.

  • reytia

    i can’t see why this building won the award. there’s nothing really innovative.. or it is me being blind

  • Pingback: WOHA’s climate-specific tower in Bangkok, Thailand « Sustain By Design

  • Thailand Reisen

    As far as looks go – I don’t think this is the most beautiful building either. But the natural ventilation saves so much energy, it’s brilliant and hopefully something that we’ll see more of in the future.