A once-forgotten money printing factory and gold depository in the heart of Bangkok has been transformed into an exciting new educational and cultural facility for the general public.
For 75 years, the Bank of Thailand has printed and issued banknotes, defined the country’s monetary policy, provided banking facilities to the Government and managed foreign exchange – mostly behind closed doors.
That’s now changed. The original Note Printing Works and gold depository building in Bangkok’s Bangkhunprom District has been renovated and reopened as the Bank of Thailand’s Learning Center, an educational and exhibition facility on the banks of the Chao Praya River.
The major structural challenge was constructing additional space on top of the existing building, without resorting to any new major construction works. Working with the design-competition winning architects, Creative Crews, we helped to transform this historic building, preserving heritage features while integrating new, modern components, not least an additional storey in the form of an impressive ballroom overlooking the river.
The building once stored millions in gold and currency, so the existing one-metre thick strong room walls were used to support 80% of the load of the ballroom, eliminating the need for underpinning the building. More significantly, we retained the original grid columns and curved, concrete roof as key features, which helped to embody the architect’s vision for the old meeting the new – the past meeting the future.
As for the public, the doors are now fully open to a fascinating insight into the world of banking and finance and the role the Bank plays as the centre of Thailand’s economy.