Light show signals opening of Bangkok's pixelated ribbon tower
The completion of Thailand's tallest tower was celebrated last week with a spectacular light show. The MahaNakhon, which covers an area of 14,950 sq m (161,000 sq ft) in Bangkok's Sathorn Central Business District and rises to 314-m (1,030-ft), is wrapped in a distinctive ribbon of pixels.
The design, by Büro Ole Scheeren Group for Pace Development Corporation, was first revealed in 2009 and construction began in 2011. The helical ribbon incorporates glass "skyboxes" that project out of the building to contribute to its pixelated look.
There are three distinct sections into which the building's 77 floors are split. The first 20 floors are home to the 155-room Bangkok Edition Hotel, a boutique hotel operated by Ritz-Carlton. Levels 21 and 22 are used as maintenance floors for the electricity and air conditioning systems, but floors 23-73 are also operated by Ritz-Carlton, with its luxury Ritz-Carlton Residences. There are 209 units in total, ranging in size from 125 sq m (1,345 sq ft) to 844 sq m (9,084 sq ft) and from two to five bedrooms.
The top floors, 74-77, accommodate an observation deck and bar, which provide 360-degree views of the surrounding areas at a height of up to 314 m (1,030). The attraction also boasts a cantilevered glass floor that extends out from the building and allows visitors to look straight down to street level from the highest point in the city. High-speed lifts serve both the residences and the observatory and are capable of getting visitors from the ground floor to the observatory in about 40 seconds.
To speed up the construction of the tower, a "slipform" process used a moving mold for the concrete works. Elsewhere, post-tension rods have been used to reduce the weight and increase the strength of the building floors, but their exact layout had to be carefully calculated to accommodate the voids in the residences and the ribbon pixels.
Large portions of the building are cantilevered, also to accommodate the pixels, with a variety of techniques employed to support them. The building's façade has a triple glazed glass system to reduce internal heat gain and noise.
The MahaNakhon has two auxiliary buildings, one of which is a seven-floor retail space, called the MahaNakhon Cube. This is connected to BTS Chongnonsi Station and is fronted by a 1,000-sq m (10,800-sq ft) landscaped public plaza designed for hosting events like exhibitions, concerts and performances. A parking building, meanwhile, employs an automated horizontal and vertical lift system that is capable of handling 465 cars.
The tower's completion was celebrated last Monday with an event called "Mahanakhon: Bangkok Rising, The Night Of Lights." This included a light-show, which is said to have been the first-ever landmark skyscraper light-show in Thailand and that used lighting technology to project onto the building's pixels, as well as a combination light panels and spotlights that were installed.
The retail portion of the building is open now and, with the residences, hotel and observation deck expected to begin becoming fully operational from later this year.
The video below shows the light show for the opening of the building.