A reflective facade and calculated layout blends Bangkok’s new Naiipa Art Complex into the environment. Designed by Bangkok-based Stu/D/O Architects, the mixed-use building carefully wraps around the existing trees on the property while using its mirrored cladding to camouflage the structure into the lush green backdrop.
The Naiipa complex (which means “deep in the forest”) is a 25,000-square-foot building that includes an art gallery, music studio, dance studio and office space, along with restaurants and coffee shops. According to the architects, the plan was to provide a community-focused center that wouldn’t disturb the existing greenery. Stu/D/O said, “The project is named after the concept of concealing the architecture in the forest as the vision of greenery is expanded by using reflective glass all around.”
To create a subtle volume for the large building and its multiple uses, the design was divided into two main sections separated by a tree-filled courtyard. Building A is an elongated structure that was carefully built around an existing pink trumpet tree to protect its growth. The second building is a cube-like four-story structure. A winding multilevel walkway that connects the two buildings intertwines around the existing trees, giving visitors a chance to truly connect with nature.
To disguise the complex within its surroundings, the architects used three different types of glazing to create a mirrored effect: reflective, translucent and transparent. According to the firm, the multiple glazed walls, along with the “rhythmic folding pattern” of the facade, helped accomplish the goal. The east side of the building uses a translucent double facade that helps filter direct sunlight and reduce heat on the interior. As visitors follow this facade to the entrance, the building begins to “fold,” creating a narrow entrance reminiscent of a vibrant forest.
Inside, the sun’s rays are reflected off the exterior facade, creating displays of shadow and light throughout the day, again imitating a forest canopy. The structure welcomes visitors with a floating “Bird Nest” gallery that is clad in reflective glass and appears to be surrounded by trees, creating a true feeling of ‘Naiipa.’
Images via Stu/D/O Architects