Central Embassy by Amanda Levete Architects



Amanda Levete Architects have unveiled Central Embassy, a 30-storey retail and hotel project in Bangkok, Thailand.


The tower will be built in the former gardens of the British Embassy in the city.


Amanda Levete Architects was formed after Levete and former partner Jan Kaplicky, who had previously worked together as Future Systems architects, went their separate ways.


Kaplicky died earlier this year.

Here's some info about the Bangkok project provided by Amanda Levete Architects, followed by an announcement on the formation of the office sent out earlier this month:


Amanda Levete Architects Announce Architectural Landmark for Bangkok

Amanda Levete Architects is to develop a major retail and hotel complex in central Bangkok, Thailand. Central Embassy, located on Bangkok’s primary commercial artery Ploen Chit Road, will be a new architectural landmark for the city and region.


The 1.5 million sq ft project will occupy the former gardens of the British Embassy in Nai Lert Park, and will consist of a 7-storey retail podium and a 30-storey 6-star hotel tower. Work on site is scheduled to begin in 2010 and to complete in 2013.


“Central Embassy will be the first contemporary landmark building in Bangkok. It is demonstrably of its time but rooted in Thai heritage and culture. Our architectural ambition is matched by the ambition of Central to create the best and most exciting retail and hotel destination in Thailand.” - Amanda Levete


The design merges the distinct features of a podium and tower into a sinuous and continuously twisting coil. The form wraps around two vertical light wells in the retail podium and at the same time encloses and exposes a series of exterior courtyards and roof gardens for the hotel. Internal spaces break apart to reveal stepped terraces and vertical gardens.

“Our design for this project has been underpinned by two strands of parallel research. We carried out extensive studies in Thailand exploring and documenting traditional patterns, materials and fabrication methods. In tandem, we’ve experimented with the application of advanced digital design techniques such as scripting and parametric modelling as a means of abstracting our hands-on research to create an innovative synthesis of technology and heritage that is specific to the context of Bangkok.” - Alvin Huang, Project Director, Amanda Levete Architects

Drawing on motifs and patterns found in traditional Thai architecture, the facade of the building is composed of a dynamic and fluid three-dimensional array of ceramic tiles. Changes in gradient, rotation and spacing break the long spans of continuous frontage into a rich pattern.

On regarding the facade, this design element will draw attention to the building’s coiling form and give varied impressions of the depth, shape and colour of its skin with each step taken. Conceived with the intention of reinterpreting Thai heritage and culture in a modern context, the project is a unique opportunity to merge traditional craftsmanship with contemporary digital design.

Renowned for attention to detail and with a track record in delivering iconic architecture for retail and leisure, Amanda Levete Architects will produce a stunning landmark for the city of Bangkok.


12 March 2009


We are pleased to announce the formation of Amanda Levete Architects following the late Jan Kaplicky and Levete’s decision in 2007 to pursue independent interests.

Amanda Levete has formed the new office together with directors Alvin Huang, Kwamina Monney and Ho-Yin Ng on a strong foundation of established and new projects and a reputation for work of originality and integrity. The ethos of the office is rooted in design research. As an extension of this agenda, we use the design of furniture to explore architectural ideas and test material possibilities at a smaller, more intimate scale. The team is a talented multi-national group of architects, designers, graphics specialists and engineers working at the intersection of design, technology and materiality, whose work is groundbreaking and thought provoking.

The new office begins with the prestigious international projects won by Levete in recent years. Among them is the redevelopment of media giant News International's headquarters in east London to create a campus for its UK operations including the Times, Sunday Times, News of the World and the Sun newspapers and other News Corporation businesses including Dow Jones, Harper Collins, MySpace and 20th Century Fox.

In Thailand Amanda Levete Architects has been commissioned to design a resort and private collection of villas for  private investors and a 1.5 million sq ft retail and hotel development in Bangkok for Central Retail Corporation. The office has recently won a competition to design a mixed-use complex in East London for developer Londonewcastle. Projects currently under construction include Spencer Dock Bridge in Dublin, a subway station in Naples in collaboration with artist Anish Kapoor, as well as offices in Oxford Street and a City Academy in Southwark.

The formation of the new office follows the end of Levete's 20 year partnership with Jan Kaplicky at the influential Future Systems. One of the most innovative practices of its time, Future Systems completed award winning and internationally recognised buildings including Selfridges department store in Birmingham and the media centre at Lord's cricket ground which won the prestigious Stirling Prize.

More Dezeen stories about Future Systems:



Jan Kaplicky 1937-2009


Oxford Street facade


Antonín Dvořák concert and congress centre


Bettina by Jan Kaplicky


Around the Corner by Amanda Levete


Amanda Levete at London Design Festival 2007 (video)


Amanda Levete installation at London Design Festival 2007

Posted on Thursday March 26th 2009 at 10:29 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Luxury Larry

    Did Zaha Hadid co-design this? If you are reading answer in a postcaard please!! I do like the shape!

  • Brett

    Zaha? Is that you??

  • Rockstar

    the top view is stunning!

  • J

    Crisis? What crisis?

  • zetre

    Looks like a cool typology. I like the viewing deck..

  • jake

    Birmingham Selfridges anyone?

  • Ayman

    Simply the Zaha Hadid-ation of Architecture… and this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing…

  • Maria

    what the hell is that mouse tail at the end??
    was there really no other way to solve that?

  • James

    under the sea… this belongs under the sea.

  • toni o

    love it! not everything forward thinking could be by zaha – hasn’t levete been at this arch game just as long??

  • anakin

    only look nice from the top, where people will never get to see it. the reinterpreting Thai heritage and culture can not be seen, at any level.

  • Joaquin

    This looks ridiculous, provided you know Bangkok. It is ridiculous how western architects trying to force in some AA’s rhino-originated models to this complicate city. It won’t belong, and it won’t even get built.

    • Pickles Hadid

      Bzzzzzzt. Wrong answer.

  • Jongruk Pruekprasert

    Would the plastic form will last long?, it seems like fashion that many designers won’t want to miss the train. Very much expectation to see new idea of hotel room and its bathroom.

  • toni o

    sheesh people! architecture is not advanced by those who say ‘no, its not possible’. The sydney opera house, cctv beijing, all advanced in form and technology and they got built. shall we all stay safe and asleep behind what’s already been done?
    how do you know that the designers don’t know bangkok?

  • Ste

    like the furniture… i think translation of these ideas to architecture is a nice field to explore… nontheless i think no single officce have managed to do a proper project with these kind of geometries… hadid and UN come close sometimes but most projects looks really prototype like and are not sophisticated enough evan after 20 years of new baroque architecture its still a big step to take and i really wish that it will happen… some spatial concepts are great and some formal possibilities are really breath taking… but i cant help myself when i always feel these projects to cheesy actually…

  • hj

    I prefer R & Sie’s attitude to the Bangkok context. Check their B-Mu project.

  • Ioseb

    This is insane!!! Who is buying this project? Unbelievable!!!

  • Taylor

    Would look far better if the first 2.5 ‘tiers’ were underground…

  • Its nice design ,that i have seen it at first , I’m arch student , i think this is something like Zaha Hadid and rem Koolhous designed in first process , but i think its new , new design with cultural background and show eastern culture, in my opinion this project is an innovation.


    What ‘s a enormous project

    for Chidlom District

    This project ‘ll be Talk of the Global

    and this wound be reacted with urbanian lifestyle in bangkok

    cuz we luv Chidlom District

  • Maydha Manleka

    What a form and technology? Amazing how you melt this department store into this city of long history and contrast with your design.

  • Edward C.K

    wow ! like a king cobra in the heart of city. don’t u think so ? Anyway it would not be successful without the cooperation of the brands (local and international) ,,,,like Central World…the zoom in of central departmentstore. everythings are the same like shopping in the central department store.

  • this building is future hope of Bangkok people and become land mark for their city instead of nice temple or wat hor prakeo too

  • wow amazing

  • ludia

    really nice and elegant, well defined geometries, cool facade, very well done.
    hope it gets built

  • Vainius Augustinas

    I remember doing wind tests for this project. One of the nicest designs I have had a chance to work with.

  • I remember doing wind tests for this project. One of the nicest designs