Cool buildings and architecture in Bangkok

SpectacularBuildings cover
Images adapted from: Sandro Bisaro/Flickr, @wheninbangkok, Phorio

Thailand has numerous, beautiful temples scattered around its provinces, as well as alluring beaches that tourists flock to.

But Bangkok’s cityscape has a few spectacular buildings with interesting architecture that wow tourists and locals alike. Look out for these places when you’re travelling around Bangkok.

More interesting places to check out in BKK:

1. Elephant Building – condominiums and office space

SpectacularBuildings elephant
Image credit: @wheninbangkok

Spotting the Elephant Building (or Tuk Chang or Chang Building) during a car ride is a childhood milestone for some of us, resembling Thailand’s national animal out of its natural habitat. Elephants have been an important part of Thai history since ancient times in both culture and its economy.

The Elephant Building has 32 floors and is separated into parts of the elephant. The head and front leg are office spaces, the back leg are condominiums, while the luxury condominiums are located on the elephant’s back.

SpectacularBuildings elephant rear
Speaking of, the elephant’s rear also has glass panes for a tail.
Image source: Explore More

SpectacularBuildings elephant head
Office spaces occupy the elephant’s head, like a mind at work
Image credit: Hipflat

There is a swimming pool underneath and between the elephant’s legs, and a shopping complex in the building section it stands on.

SpectacularBuildings ballroom
Gorgeous ballrooms are available for hosting weddings
Image credit: Sabuy Wedding

The Elephant Building is a convenient 2 minute walk away from Phaholyothin 24 BTS Station.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the 7th floor meant for free views may be closed to non-residents.

Elephant Building
Address: Khwaeng Chom Phon, Khet Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900

2. Robot Building – computerized bank headquarters 

SpectacularBuildings robot
On the side of the building are giant nuts made from glass-reinforced concrete.
Image credit: Reddit

The story goes that the building’s architect, Mr. Sumet Jumsai, took inspiration from his son’s toy robot. At the time, the Bank of Asia coincidentally wanted a building design that reflected their move towards computerized banking systems, so he put two and two together.

SpectacularBuildings robot night
Image credit: Sandro Bisaro/Flickr

The Robot Building is 20 stories tall and stacks like a pyramid, with the top forming the head and the rest of the building the torso and legs. It was once the headquarters of Bank of Asia, but now belongs to United Overseas Bank. This design prophetically reflects today’s move towards paperless banking and, one day, a banking system run by artificial intelligence.

The robot’s head has two lightning rods that act as its antennas and the bank’s logo is emblazoned on the side of its head. The robot’s droopy eyes are circular windows with sunshades – a symbolic part of the robot where executives dine and hold meetings to oversee the company’s direction.

SpectacularBuildings robot back
Even the back looks like a battery slot and speaker grates. Circa 1986
Image credit: @RetroSiam

The Robot Building is 9 minutes walk away from Surasak BTS Station or an 8 minute walk from Chong Nonsi BTS Station. It is also an 8 minute walk from King Power MahaNakhon, the second tallest building in Thailand.

Robot Building
Address: Yan Nawa, Sathon, Bangkok 10120

3. King Power MahaNakhon -2nd tallest building in Thailand

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Image credit: King Power Mahanakhon

King Power MahaNakhon is the second tallest (314m) building in Thailand, with the tallest one being the 70-story (318m) Magnolias Waterfront Residences Iconsiam. During its grand opening, a lightshow illuminated the building with various colours patterns including an escalating Thai flag. Sadly, this was a one-off show, but the tower remains an impressive landmark to drop by.

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Image credit: Mahanakhon Bangkok SkyBar

It is recommended that you visit the SkyBar on the 76th floor, where you can fine dine and drink with a view – without settling for passable in-flight meals.

SpectacularBuildings mahanakhon glass floor
Image credit: @tropicexplorers

But if you’re only here for the view, ride the panoramic hydraulic glass lift up to the 78th floor’s observation deck. Here, you can visit the Skywalk and pray you don’t get vertigo. There are glass floors on this level where the view is straight down.

King Power MahaNakhon is 12 minutes away from Sala Daeng BTS Station – you can’t miss it.

King Power MahaNakhon
Address: Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500

4. Pearl Bangkok – oval-shaped glass building

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Image credit: @chanapak.p

The Pearl Bangkok building is, naturally, inspired by pearls. Not just any pearl, but South Sea pearls – the largest and rarest of pearls in the world. The building houses the quarters of Pruksa Real Estate and was constructed from 11,300 glass sheets meticulously carved into specific diamond shapes.

SpectacularBuildings pearl light show
mage credit: @yusabuy

For those who couldn’t experience King Power MahaNakhon’s light show, don’t fret – this is another building in Bangkok to keep an eye on. The Pearl Bangkok hosts occasional light shows to commemorate events like Christmas (stay tuned for a 2020 one) and, on one occasion, to celebrate the world’s first 3D-printed rocket* expected to launch in 2022.

*This was a partnership between Thai satellite company “mu Space Corp” and private American aerospace company “Relativity Space”.

SpectacularBuildings pearl interior
Image credit: @chaowanin

The building boasts an environmentally-friendly design that’s also energy-efficient. It reduces its use of electricity by having natural lighting and insulated glass to keep the building cool as well. They further save energy through the use of daylight sensors for LED lights.

Ari BTS Station is a 6 minutes walk away from Pearl Bangkok.

Pearl Bangkok
Address: 1177 Phahonyothin Rd, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400

5. G Tower – G-shaped office building

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Image credit: Phorio

G Tower’s design came from a straightforward inspiration that the name of the company behind it, G-Land or Grand Canal Land Public Company Limited, starts with the letter G. Some say it also looks like the Thai letter ง from the back.

SpectacularBuildings g tower interior
Image credit: gtowerbkk

The buildings that make up G Tower are offices known as the North Wing (10-24, 25-39th floor) and the South Wing (10-27th floor). The lower floors are occupied by parking lots and restaurants such as Sushi Seki and Fufu Shabu.

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Image credit:
The Skyscraper Center

Another project from G-Land is a super tower named the Grand Rama 9 Tower, which will be located next to the G-Tower. It will be the tallest building (615m) in Thailand once completed in 2026, taller than the current Magnolias Waterfront Residences (316m) at ICONSIAM.

G Tower
Address: 9 Rama 9 Rd, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310

6. Bangkok University Landmark Complex – diamond-shaped campus

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Image credit: Ji Jirawat/Flickr

The Bangkok University Landmark Complex is a group of buildings located at the front of the university’s main campus. The symbol comes from the founder’s name, Surat Osathanugrah, and Surat means “precious gem”, and is why a diamond was chosen.

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Image credit: ArchDaily

There are three diamonds in this location: Creative Art, Science and Technology, and a multi-purpose building that houses classrooms and administration. The inside of the buildings have huge open spaces for airflow and natural lighting.

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Image credit: KCS & Associates Co., Ltd.

Having a symbolic design at the university’s frontal area reminds people of their mission – to mold students to become bright gems of tomorrow. The sight of the buildings can inspire others to pursue further education or even take an interest in architecture.

Bangkok University Landmark Complex
Address: 9/1 Moo 5 Phahonyothin Rd, Khlong Nueng, Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani 12120

7. SCG 100th Year Building

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A multi-purpose field track is available for employees and events
Image credit: CreativeMOVE

The SCG 100th Year Building was built to coincide with Siam Cement Group’s 100th anniversary, and was designed to reflect the company’s longevity. They chose a green building to help the environment because SCG also wants everyone to live long and healthy lives.

SpectacularBuildings scg100 night
Image credit: @ksssdaaa

The building’s main characteristic are wavy creases that make it seem like it’s melted, but it’s quite the contrary.

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Image credit: TK Studio Landscape Architecture

This building, too, promotes eco-friendliness while providing a space to keep employees happy and inspired to go green. It has a large garden and smart offices for a happier work environment. And like other green buildings, it has natural lighting and insulated glass to fight hot weather

Essentially, employees make the company’s legacy, and improving their quality of life means the company and the community live on together.

SCG 100th Year Building
Address: 1 Siam Cement Alley, Bang Sue, Bangkok 10800

8. Park Ventures Ecoplex – shaped like prayer hands

SpectacularBuildings park ventures
Image credit: @urbanaffairsmagazine

In Thailand, folded hand gestures (or a wai) is a way of greeting each other, as well as welcoming or showing respect. This is what inspired Park Ventures building’s design as a building that shows Thailand’s cultural warmth together with a goal to welcome a move towards eco-friendly spaces.

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Park Venture’s gardens have Norfolk Island Pine Trees from Phetchabun northern province
Image credit: Office, Hello!

Like the Pearl Bangkok and the SCG 100th Year, the Park Venture building also has a system that saves energy like daylight sensors and insulated glasses. 

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Image credit: She Wanders Abroad

There’s also The Okura Prestige Bangkok, a five-star luxury hotel located on the building’s 23rd and 24th floor, with an infinity pool a floor above the rooms. The pool’s water flows over the pool’s edge and creates an optical illusion that makes it look like the pool flows off the edge of the building.

Park Ventures Ecoplex
Address: 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand

9. Church of the Blessed Sacrament Bangkok – minimalist style church

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Image credit: @TheSmilingHut

The Church of the Blessed Sacrament Bangkok has a shockingly modern look compared to other Catholic churches around Bangkok. The church’s architect, Mr. Manode Sookchai, was inspired by the shape of sacramental breads, and the church’s design is a clean, white motif with bricks and stones mixed in.

SpectacularBuildings blessed interior
Image credit: @TheSmilingHut

It could be misunderstood as a cold look for a sanctuary, but the minimalist style interior greatly emphasizes a pure atmosphere that a church should have.

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Image credit: Rabbitweekend

A church that looks clean and simplistic will do the same for the mind and soul. The church may look unconventional, but it still serves the same role as any other traditional church.

Church of the Blessed Sacrament Bangkok
Address: 227 Thanon Suan Phak, Taling Chan, Bangkok 10170

10. Prince Mahidol Hall – plant-shaped concert hall

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From the back, it is conical like the symbolic plant
Image credit: Distant Worlds

The concert hall’s building design stylistically resembles a blend between Kan Phai Mahidol vines (the university’s symbolic plant) and a skeletal structure. It symbolically reflects Mahidol University’s medical school’s roots with its namesake.

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From the front, it looks like a saucer
Image credit: Livin Spaces

SpectacularBuildings mahidon neurons
Image credit: Lasvit

Under the roof hides a cylindrical auditorium in the middle of the building. On its ceilings are giant hand-crafted glass neurons that strobe to music from within the concert hall. Along with the building’s rib-like structure, both are there to remind us of the university’s history in medical science.

Prince Mahidol Hall
Address: Mahidol University, Salaya, Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom 73170

Designed with a purpose

It may be odd to see an office building shaped like anything but rectangular, but the building’s design doesn’t change its purpose. It’s more than just a design that stands out in a district – it’s there to inspire people.

Look out for these memorable landmarks the next time you plan to visit Bangkok. You can plan a photo trip around them alongside your temple-hopping plans.

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