[highlight1] The Met Condominium [/highlight1]
The Met designed by WOHA & Tandem Architects, currently Thailand’s fourth tallest building at 228 meters in height, demonstrates creative ideas for high-rise, high-density living in the tropics. The project explores how aspects of low-rise tropical housing can be adapted to provide high amenity through indoor-outdoor spaces in the sky.
The design of the 66-storey tower is an innovative solution to the issues of density in tropical Asian cities, and offers a new model for high-density tropical housing. The Met explores how aspects of low-rise tropical housing can be adapted to provide vast amenities through indoor-outdoor spaces in the sky. The high rise tower proposes gardens and swimming pools in the sky in six perforated towers that allow light and air to penetrate the slender forms. The retail block floats in a lotus pond and participates in the life of the city through showcase pods that punctuate the façade. The condominium houses 370 units, ranging from 2 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms and luxury penthouses. The property provides a full range of luxury facilities, including separate drop-off areas and lobbies, large landscaped garden, a 50-meter swimming pool, fitness centre, satellite gym, sky terrace, library, BBQ area, and 2 tennis courts.
This project was designed in 2003 and completed in December 2009. The project was the winning entry in a limited competition and comprises 370 units of housing space in the heart of Bangkok. The design concept explores ideas for tropical development at high densities. The high rise tower proposes gardens and swimming pools in the sky in perforated towers that allow light and air to penetrate the slender forms.
Most tropical high-rise housing schemes in developing countries are based on models created in New York and Chicago, where cold weather and strong winds are typical. These models result in apartments that are compact, insulated from the exterior and lack sun shading or overhangs. These buildings act as protective shells designed to shield the inhabitants from the harsh weather.
However, in the tropics, light winds, year-round balmy weather, constant temperatures and high humidity make outdoor living permissible and often times desirable. In addition, the environmental conditions at height in dense Asian cities are preferable to those near the ground—there is more privacy, better views, lower humidity, stronger breezes, better security, less noise and less dust. The Met seeks to capitalize on the environment in which it exists, and provide a more sustainable model for tropical high-rise design.
The Met creates enjoyable tropical living conditions at extremely high densities (a plot ratio of 10:1). Located between two train stations, the development permits a higher use of existing infrastructure, and a practical way of dealing with Bangkok’s urban sprawl and bad traffic jams. In Bangkok, public transport is used by all sectors of society, as it is often the only way to move through the grid-locked city.
This project investigates the opportunities for high-rise living in the tropics. The design won a MIPIM future project award, and is now completed. Rather than adopting models developed in temperate countries, with a strong separation of interior and exterior, this project explores how aspects of low-rise tropical housing can be applied to create outdoor-indoor spaces in the sky.
The design is inspired by Thai forms – thai tiles, textiles and timber panelling, abstracted and used as a way to organise forms. The cladding, for instance, uses temple tiles as an inspiration, while the staggered arrangement of the balconies recalls the Thai teak staggered panelling on traditional houses.
The solution creates appropriate tropical living at extremely high densities – a plot ratio of 10:1.
Located between two train stations, the development permits higher use of existing infrastructure, and a practical way of dealing with Bangkok’s urban sprawl and terrible traffic jams. In Bangkok public transport is used by all sectors of society, as it is often the only way to move through the grid-locked city.
The building is planted on every horizontal surface, creating almost 100% landscape ratio. Additionally, vertical faces are shaded by green creeper screens, rising up the full 66 storeys. Balconies are provided with private planters.
All apartments are cross ventilated, and all face north and south. The staggered block arrangement gives all apartments access to light and air on all four sides. The design encourages and makes possible living without airconditioning.
Most tropical high-rise housing in developing countries is designed by consultants from temperate countries replicating cold-climate models.
However, in the tropics light winds, year-round balmy weather, constant temperatures and high humidity make outdoor living desirable. In addition, the environmental conditions up high in dense Asian cities are preferable to those near the ground – there is more privacy, better views, lower humidity, stronger breezes, better security, less noise and less dust.
To make the most of these opportunities, this project creates cross-ventilated tropical houses in the sky with breezeways, full exposure to light and views, outdoor living areas, planters and high-rise gardens, and open-air communal terraces with barbeques, libraries, spas and other facilities. These sky terraces, both private and public, link the blocks every 5 storeys, creating dramatic yet human-scaled external spaces in the sky.
The building contributes to the urban environment with its planted facades, balconies and sky gardens, bringing cool, dark, natural relief to the grey concrete of central Bangkok. The walls incorporate random inserts of faceted polished stainless steel, a contemporary interpretation of the sparkling mirrors incorporated into Thai temples, returning this delightful glittering effect at a scale appropriate to the central city.
Common areas are spread throughout the towers, offering inhabitants a variety of experiences, from the intricately designed carpet of water, stone and vegetation at ground level, to the extensive indoor-outdoor facilities at the pool level, to libraries, barbeques, and function areas at sky terraces that offer the experience of living high in the sky to all the inhabitants.
The design is an innovative solution to the issues of density in tropical Asian cities, and offers a new model for high-density tropical housing. The concept of a naturally ventilated, perforated, indoor-outdoor, green tower is a necessary alternative to the sealed, glazed curtain wall buildings being erected across the tropical regions.
Structural engineering is fully integrated with architectural design. The design is built around a very systematic and regular structure. Based on a 9m module, the structure works well with all the various functions – apartments, recreational facilities and car parking.
The design presents a slender profile, but the engineering has taken into consideration likely earth movement and strong window conditions. Wind tunnel tests were carried out to ensure safety and comfort in sky terraces. Structural bracing was introduced at every 5 levels, which is used for sky gardens, private pools and common areas.
The design uses a wide range of passive strategies to reduce energy consumption and make a better environment:
- The building is shaded by overhang ledges and perforated metal screens. This protects all external walls from heat from sunshine.
- The design uses living screens at the east and west walls, as well as the car park areas. These cool the building through transpiration and shading, as well as improving air quality through photosynthesis.
- Cross ventilation is provided to all homes, making air-conditioning an option, not a necessity in Bangkok’s pleasant nights.
- Water gardens are used at ground level and recreational floors to provide evaporative cooling and store rainwater.
The lighting design makes a dramatic statement on the skyline. The sky gardens are lit to highlight the building’s unique features, creating a desirable lush appearance. The building height and slenderness will also be highlighted as making the building a iconic statement for Bangkok.
[highlight1] Project Data [/highlight1]
Project name: The Met
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Coordinates: 13.722028, 100.534139
Type: Condominium, Skyscraper
Floor count: 69
Height: 231 m (758 ft)
Site Area: 112,834 sqm (1,214,530 sq.ft)
Project Area: 113,000 sqm
Project Year: 2004-2005
Construction Year: 2005-2009
Cost: US $132 M
Completion Year: December 2009
- 2013 Aga Khan Award – Category: Architecture – Shortlist
- 2011 Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award – Green Good Design Award – Category: Green Architecture
- 2010 International Highrise Award – Best Highrise Buildings
- 2010 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Awards – International Awards – Winner
- 2010 Australian Institute of Architects Awards – Category: National Architecture – Winner
- 2009 World Architecture Festival Award – Category: Housing (inc mixed use) – Winner
- 2009 The Emporis Skyscraper Award – Skyscraper of the Year – Rank No.3
- 2009 The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Awards – Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia – Finalist
- 2006 MIPIM Awards – MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Award – Winner
- 2006 The 2nd International Designing competition on Asian City Housing & Environment Award – Category: Asian Habitat Award for Planning & Designing
Visit The Met’s website:here
[highlight1] The people [/highlight1]
Client / Owner / Developer: Pebble Bay Thailand Co. Ltd
Architects: WOHA – 29 Hongkong Street Singapore
Associated Architects: Tandem Architects – 193/60 15th Floor, Lake Rajada Office Complex, Rachadapisek Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Project Team: Alina Yeo, Carina Tang, Cheah Boon Kwan, Gerry Richardson, Janita Han, Jose Nixon Sicat, Puiphai Khunawat, Punpong Wiwatkul, Techit Romraruk, Richard Hassell, Sim Choon Heok, Wong Mun Summ
Mechanical & Electrical Engineers: Lincolne Scott Ng Pte. Ltd.
Civil & Structural Engineers: Worley Pte. Ltd.
Landscape Architects: Cicada Pte. Ltd.
Cost Consultant: KPK Quantity Surveyors (1995) Singapore Pte Ltd
Environmental Engineer: Environmental Resources Management – Siam Co. Ltd.
Main Contractor: Bouygues Thai Ltd
Text Description: © Courtesy of WOHA , ctbuh, worldbuildingsdirectory
Images: © WOHA & Tandem Architects, Patrick Bingham-Hall, Tim Griffith, Kirsten Bucher