Bangkok Culture Hll
“We create a place that improve human life.”
The Bangkok Cultural Hill is an urban development project within one of the most significant business district in Bangkok; its uniqueness strikes from it prominent point of location that will become an important interchange between two underground transportation lines. The location has a promising potential to become a new Bangkok “Super Station”. This condition present a new challenge in Thailand for it will be the first interchange form the underground MRT system. The design looked carefully in to this challenge and proposed to emphasize on this uniqueness – a gradual continuous out flowing space from the point of transition under the ground level onto the ground and beyond. It interweaves the flow of people and incorporate it with various overlaid places for recreation and sports activities on the building envelope. The project looked into a great consideration to develop a place the suits for complex dimensions of the city, especially in creating a sustainable green park which is integrated into the building area to provide quality urbanscape in promotion to the people’s wellbeing in city life-style. Culturally and socially, the project help support the accessibility to the existing cultural center and provide an addition to house national cultural event/exhibition, such as the late King Rama 9th Art Gallery or Hall of Fame for National Artists, within the outdoor environment to inspire the young generations in being able to understand the original Thai way-of-life. With great concern in sustainability, universal design, urban livelihood and wellbeing, the Bangkok Cultural Hill should become a vitally meaningful addition to the city.
Ratchadapisek road serve as the inner ring road of for Bangkok; it had played an important role in creation and development of financial district for decades even before the establishment of the underground line. When the blue MRT line was built under it, the potential for land pieces within the area kept rising higher and higher.
Projecting into the future, the potential of land pieces in Ratchadapisek area would continue to rise when the orange MRT line (Bangbamru – Bangkapi – Minburi) would be open to public use. The orange line will run across the city center from the East fringe of Bangkok to the West with an intersection to the existing blue line at the Cultural Center Station.
Considering the public transportation network and the overall development conditions in Ratchadapisek area, it is clear that the connection point of the two rail line will become a prominent junction in the East of Bangkok which would greatly impact the land use and development schemes around the area.
The vision to foresee the potential of the site area is crucially necessary to create a befitting respond to the future need within and around the interchange stations. The new “Super Station” would be an interchange of underground railway system unlike the former Siam Square station which is an interchange of the skytrain lines. To plan and design for an underground interchange point which would generate flowing spaces for activities from under the ground, onto the ground and beyond would introduce a new design challenge in Thailand. Bangkok Cultural Hill took a great care to respond to this challenge.
The immense state budget invested into public transportation should be well responded by the investments from the private sector in order to generate worthy benefit for city development and the citizen wellbeing, not only for the corporate financial profits. To respond to the state investment and to support the future development, Laem Thong Sahakarn Group established Bangkok Cultural Hill project proposing for two interconnected dimensions: city dimension and economic investment dimension, and aim for a great positive impact to the urban development.
- City dimension
Complexly, the multi-dimensional aspects of urban conditions helps put together quality space for urban livelihood. The Cultural Hill proposed 7 main aspects of usability.
1.1. Pleasant park for recreation and sports
The overall image of the project dominated by the descending contour of decreasing floor area from the 1st level underground to the 4th floor above ground level which create continuous flow of green area sloping down to form a large hill composed with soil layering, ground cover planting and other overlaying elements in alternative rhythm between trees, walk ways, and resting patios. The proposed park design in careful consideration to create a sustainable environment by incorporating wastewater management system, utilization of clean energy — solar energy and designing for plant selection that has high rate of carbon dioxide absorption. This green architecture would be utilized not only in the interior, the space on the contour of exterior envelop would interweave and become a park for sports and recreation. The development would become an urban park for the residence and people who work within the project area, residence around Ratchada area and even people living further to the East Bangkok who can easily commute to the destination.
1.2. Cultural hill
Although the subjected MRT station was named Cultural Center Station, the actual Thailand’s Cultural Center hide in back block adjacent to Wattanatham road. The Cultural Hill proposes to provide urban space for cultural activities within its area and further to interconnect to the back building blocks allowing better access to Thailand’s Cultural Center.
Aside from being green recreation park on urban hill, the project would generate a wide array of lively cultural activities, from street culture, entertainment arena, recreation area, to food district and etc. Endless possibilities of activities can be integrated to the area as a promise for urban livelihood.
Only by depending solely on the accessibility made possible by railway public transportation, the land development of the area around the interchange station would eventually lead to being a major targeted destination for an enormous crowd. And by being a regular part of city people daily lives, the project provide a suitable location worthy of national cultural event and exhibition such as the late King Rama 9th Art Gallery or Hall of Fame for National Artists.
1.3. Generate urban lifestyle from underground transit
With new rail lines being built, transportation via the MRT is gradually becoming a regular part of life for city people, therefore, the time has come to spend better care in designing quality connection point and underground stations. The Cultural Hill took the opportunity of building right on this crucial interchange and put a great concern into this matter. Sunken court allows the clear vision of traffic flow from the underground station through three access points into the two building towers.
1.4. A prominent shopping district for the metropolitan
The project proposed for 122,095 sq.m. of shopping mall with circulation of 116,500 daily users. (Calculated as 25% by statistic of changes in transportation route of MRT blue line and orange line: average 466,000 persons per day)
1.5. Providing large scale residential units:
1.5.1. Condominium with 796 units (average 60 sq.m./unit) in 86,790 sq.m. building area
1.5.2. Accommodation with 478 keys, yielding the capacity of 1,200 persons/day, in 27,800 sq.m. building area.
1.6. Providing large scale work space and work source
The project proposed for 42,700 sq.m. of office building with capacity to hold 5,600 workers per day.
Estimation of total users 123,500 persons
1.7. Traffic management and transportation
The project proposed for connection point from two MRT lines – blue and orange – along with 2,040 parking spaces (1,734 required by law and regulation, with addition of 306 parking spaces in support to the MRT’s park and ride)
- Economic investment dimension
Other than proposing for the mentioned usability and programs tailored to meet with its unique urban location, the probability of feasible investment study was carried through:
2.1. Estimate cost for investment for the shopping and office building is 6,650 million baht, with average profitable rate at 1,320 million baht/year which yield to estimated profitable return in 8 years.
2.2. Estimate cost for investment for the condominium units is 7,954 million baht.
2.3. Estimate cost for investment for the accommodation and office building is 1,820 million baht, with average profitable rate at 228 million baht/year which yield to estimated profitable return in 8 years.
- Significance in impact for city development
In response to the significant keys of the site location and its meaning in multiple dimensions – mainly city development and economic investment –, Bangkok Cultural Hill should be able to generate urban livelihood for Bangkok, becoming a positive addition to the citizen’s wellbeing. It should be able to stand as a piece of sustainable urban development that people in the city can share with pride.
Internationally, complex and large scale urban development projects has raised the bar for the creation of exciting and vibrantly lively urban districts; multiple city has created quality urbanscape, such as Marina Bay in Singapore and Namba, Roppongi in Japan.