Architects in ChargeAstrid Klein, Mark Dytham
Text description provided by the architects. Open House is located in the Central Embassy complex 50m above Bangkok. It features a village of spaces each with a familiar human scale - restaurants, bars, galleries, stores, pop-ups, libraries and workspaces that all seamlessly work together. In today’s mega cities there is nowhere to pause, take a breath, sit or simply get back in control of your senses, especially in the stifling heat of Bangkok. Open House is the antidote to this - it is an oasis, a getaway - a place where you can feel at home.
The brief revolved around fourteen restaurants and bars, a bookstore, a co-working space, a kids space and various communal areas. With this many components and functions it soon became clear that navigation was the key to the project. How could we break down this aircraft-hanger-like space into an understandable and seamlessly connected village? By developing a series of towers for each of the restaurants we could:
• Make the restaurants visible from a distance by making the towers act like totems
• Hide the kitchen hoods and ventilation ducts
• Enclose many of the columns and reduce their visual impact
The towers are clad in a family of different timber fretwork patterns; the variety in these patterns serves to change the way light passes through the towers as you move through the space. Mirrored panels on the ceiling around the towers make them appear to extend beyond the space and also break down the immensity of the ceiling.
The bookstore element is linear and a path with reading stops along the way weaves its way through the space. A tall book tower anchors the bookshop at one end of the space, and a large double height library wall wraps around at the other end. The bookstore seamlessly integrates into the bar and restaurant spaces and allows people to browse freely.
An Art Tower sits under the main roof light, which contains a small gallery and a look-out surrounded by trees on top. The internal gallery forms an intimate space within the Open house for art exhibitions. Externally the tower has illuminated shelves for displays and large plain surfaces for future art exhibitions and installations.
Open House also includes ‘the greenhouse’ a co-working space which is located behind the book wall and provides a quieter, more secluded space for working and a suite of meeting rooms. Food and drinks from any one of the restaurants can be ordered and delivered to your desk.
The Central Embassy complex is in a surprisingly leafy area of Bangkok, overlooking the British Embassy complex on one side and more green tree tops on the other. We wanted to extend this notion of greenery inside and to achieve this and reduce the impact of the extensive white ceiling, we devised a pattern of leaves that spreads cross the whole space. The 9,600 leaves were hand painted over a series of 6 weeks and collectively create an amazing art work, an iconic and memorable element of the space.