The name was supposed to be chosen based on a public competition, however, most of the entries turned out to be Western names. The developers PACE Development Corp. and the architect felt that the building that changes the city’s skyline should have a Thai name. They chose Mahanakon which means Great Metropolis and is also part of the Bangkok’s name in Thai language. Mahanakon is already an iconic part of Bangkok and Thailand.
At 314 meters the building towers over Baiyoke Tower II, but it is still dwarfed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai which is still the tallest in the world. Bangkok tallest won’t stay the tallest for long, though. Magnolias Waterfront Residences Tower 1 at 315 m will be completed by 2018 and Rama IX Super Tower at 615 meters with 125 floors will open in 2021.
Until then, Mahanakon is considered a super tall building by the Counsel of Tall buildings and Urban Habitat. Its 77 floors houses 207 Ritz Carlton luxury residences, the Edition boutique hotel with 159 rooms, upscale retail and restaurants, and an observation deck. The building is surrounded by a lush garden that is the largest open square in the middle of the financial district in the city of Angels.
The combination of buildings and the landscaped plaza as public space of 10,000 square meters offers a glimpse at an inner life and dynamic and its outdoor spaces – optimized for the tropical climate. The architect Ole Scheeren and the developers shared a common vision to build a vertical remarkable landmark in this special city with great urban density. He thinks differently about skyscrapers in the sense that he does not see it as a living space in isolation, but a spacial and structural typology that promotes living together and a sense of community. Some of his other projects include The Interlace in Singapore and the 1500 West Georgia in Vancouver.
The unique looking pixelated construction has lots of outdoor spaces and glass box protrusions such as 3D spaces, balconies and terraces as well as living rooms that are just a few features. Mahanakon’s pixulated structure spirals around the base and gives it an air of erosion and almost unfinishedness. It teases out emotions of floating above the city.
An observation deck with a glass platform is extending out of the building at 310 meters. The construction was a challenging engineering task. It consists of a single sheet of glass along the entire width of the building that floats above ground. The observation deck is one of the largest viewing platforms in the world and will be accessible to the public. With the skywalk connecting Bangkok’s mass transit sky train, Mahanakon is easily accessible for residence and the public.
To further embrace the vision of meshing private and public space and making Mahanakon part of the city, the developers and the architect engage in CSR activities. One of the projects included a school for the construction workers’ children. At any given time, there were almost 2,000 laborers and their families on the construction site.
Building in a city like Bangkok which thrives on the tension of future and past and that stands out for its powerful, spectacular and energetic architecture, is no small deed. The skyscraper almost appears as a sculpture.
Some more impressions of the fantastic light show: