Fotograph of the Modern Movement

Modern Thai Architecture

Thai architecture began its dialogue with the modernist idiom in the late 1960s, catalyzed by three main forces; the advent of modernizating urban lifestyles, new construction technologies, and the return of overseas-educated Thai architects influenced by Western modernist principles.

The urge of these young Thai architects to keep up with a charging world resulted in concrete buildings with modernist aesthetics rising up incongruously amidst the open vegetation of the city. The architecture of the period became an experiment in adapting modernist principles to tropical climate and local materials.

As new roads cut through Bangkok’s rural outskirts, the city grew, along with its population. Office buildings, hotels and shopping centers sprouted in newly designated commercial zones, pushing local residents to adjust their lifestyles to new social and economic pressures.

Advances in civil engineering changed the city landscape from shop-houses into corporate high-rises, symbolizing the business vision of a new generation of Thai-Chinese tycoons.

Modern Thai architecture between 1967 – 1987 reflects the issues of a newly industrializing nation struggling to keep up with globalizing forces in its own way. In this sense, the architectural history of the decades was a direct National Economic Development Plan after WWII.


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