Downtown panic as new building seems to tilt

The uncovering of this new hotel building, with its unusual design, sparked fears it could be about to fall. (Photos by Patipat Janthong)

A social media alert that a high-rise under construction near Phloenchit intersection appeared to be leaning over stirred brief panic on Tuesday, but it was just the unusual design being revealed as the contractor removed the covering.

A Twitter user posted photos of the Pathumwan building with a hashtag for JS100 traffic radio, saying that it appeared to be leaning towards the adjacent high-rise condominium building, Noble Ploenchit.

The images were rapidly shared, along with people’s comments on the “leaning” building.

However, the project engineer later told reporters the architect designed it that way, to reflect the hand movement of the wai.

An artist’s cutaway impression of the building. (Supplied photo)

The 33-storey building is being developed by Rende Ploenchit Hotel Co, will be known as Rosewood Bangkok, have 159 rooms and is scheduled to open in 2019, according to its website.    

“Two connecting high-rise structures will create a dynamic form inspired by the graceful hand movement of the wai – the simple but beautifully elegant Thai gesture of greeting and welcome, which ideally conveys Thai tradition and culture,” according to the company’s website.

Managing-director Udomsak Ngosiri in a statement described the building as “perspective design”, and said it was 70% completed. The company has positioned itself as an ultra-luxury hotel with an iconic building.   

Pathumwan district director Morakot Sanittangkul said officials were sent to check the building and found no indication it was actually leaning over or subsiding. It was the building’s design. 

She said the building was designed with a slope from the 10th floor up to the 33rd floor. The contractor, Ritta Co, had merely removed the protective scaffolding from around the building, and some people had wrongly jumped to the conclusion it might collapse. 

Noppadol Chaipanya, director of building control at the city’s Public Works Department, said the building had construction approval. The slope was only on the exterior, and the interior was a normal building structure.

Officials from Pathumwan district inspected the construction every 15 days to ensure it followed the approved blueprint, he said.

According to a report in Thai media, the panic ensued after some scaffolding collapsed and workers ran from the site. People looking from outside gained the impression the building was leaning over. 

A Ritta employee shows a model of the building.

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