The River, involving 200,000 square metres of GFA, pushed HB Design to a new level, requiring more than a doubling of staff numbers. The proposal from the client was highly ambitious in so far as it involved two towers with a total of almost 1000 units on the ‘wrong side’ of the Chao Praya River. But the vision was to change that mindset with a landmark building. For HB Design it represented a special challenge because it signalled another shift in scale.
After initially considering three towers, it was decided to construct two towers (72 and 44 storeys), providing the same amount of sellable space with floorplates of 1400 square metres. This also presented the opportunity to ensure that all apartments had good views. Then, orienting the towers on a north-south axis framed the river to show its meandering course either to the sea or up-country, while also providing the best solar orientation.
The architectural expression is driven by a yin-yang principle whose first iteration is to off-set the two towers and break down the mass. This is enhanced by a highly sculptural gesture giving a different articulation to the two principal sides of each tower. One side is an elegant curved curtain wall, the other has a more textured expression, a series of ‘pigeon holes’ which acknowledge the units themselves.
A new water cooled air-conditioning system enabled floor to floor heights to come down from 3.4 to 3.2 metres, adding an extra three floors to the buildings. This innovation also enabled the CDU to be brought in off the balcony, removing it as both a heat and noise source and giving the development an added marketing edge. Innovative vertical planning enabled a variety of different unit types. This involved clustering all the serviced areas (kitchens and bathrooms) adjacent to the corridor, enabling the risers to be easily transferred to the main core, thus liberating the plan for different lay-outs. The main façades reflected this diversity and so avoided the usual monotonous repetition of typical floors.
The condominium has a large parking podium on top of which there is an ‘eco deck’, an extensive landscaped area with pools, pavilions and other supporting amenities. It also offers a unique amenity in the form of a private boat service linking the condominium with the ‘right’ side of the river.
In a gesture to urban placemaking, the river frontage was conceived as part of a civic design, hosting publicly accessible restaurants and retail amenities.