Harbormall (completed images)


Location: Laemchabang, Cholburi
Client: Harbormall
Built-up area: 25,000m2
Year of completion: 2008
Photographer: Jaroonrat Vithoosuwan

During 1997 Asian economy crisis, Laemtong Shopping mall, Laemchabang, is one of some thousand projects in Thailand that were heavily affected. Like many other fields of businesses, retails are in their worst condition in Thailand’s history of development. The 100,000 square meter Laemtong Shopping mall was declining to the half-abandoned stage. The high rise section was rotting while the retail part was left more than half empty. The building was architecturally warned out.

The building renovation started in 2007, ten years after crisis, as the owner’s business entered the new era where the second generation of the family has brought the retail business to the new flight, with the new name, Harbormall. In the plan includes the redesign of the façade, front plaza and whole new interior to suit the new business landscape of the location. It is a low budget project to work with considering its very large built area.

The façade is an all-new steel structure covering the front part of the old building. The new skin, attached to the steel frames, is composed by some 2,000 pieces laminated glass fins with 7 different customized colors. Because of multi-layering of transparent materials, the gap between the old and the new façade helps adding complex lucidity to building. It turns from a giant blue box during day time to a glowing green one in the evening. The new characteristic of the shopping mall is to reveal more the movements of people inside rather than to have conventional solid wall architecture.

The interior of the shopping mall has been through an extensive process of transformation as well. More natural light is brought into the space via a large skylight. In addition to that all old school extravagant materials have been changed to the more simple, clean and light ones to implement different perception of shopping to the locals.

Photographs by Ben

Harbormall (process)

fins_colorsHarbormall is revitalization project of the 50,000+sq.m. building heavily affected by the  great Asian Economy crisis in 1997. Located 100 km. east of Bangkok, the building was a local shopping mall mostly serving engineers and workers in Laemchabang harbor, the biggest harbor of Thailand. After being struck by the financial crisis, the building continuously fell apart customer disappearing, shops closing till it reached zombie state. The whole thing was half-dead for 6 years. (The same thing can happen to retail spaces in many countries in financial crisis right now)

Warning: This is a pretty long post. We would like to put a lot of Harbormall stuff in line. Therefore we decide not to split the post. Please be patient loading the images.diagram_progress
With that small sign of life, the next generation of owner took a few years to rebuild his business and decided to renovate the building in full-scale. New programs are implemented. The façade and front plaza are redesigned. The interior space is given a whole new concept. The revitalization has been completed in January 2009 right in time when it has to tackle its way through another economic recession, currently. Surely this time it is much more equipped and composed.



renders(Some of the option we tried during the design process)finaltive_day(The new shell, composed of 3,400 color film laminated glass panels)

angles(Facade pattern studies)

fin_model(Early stage glass fins model)color(Laminated glass samples)shadowfins

We continue our “Multiplication obsession” by wrapping the old facade with the new skin composed of 3,400 pieces of color film laminated glasses. There are 8 shades of blue, green and white fins mixing up. The fact that the building is stand by the big highway flooded with Sodium light (typical orange street light.) Our idea is create an  blue box that brightly iluminates at night to contrast with the existing environment. The new form of the facade is kept at its most simlplicity to differ itself from the existing postmodern buildings surround it.


As well, we take care of the interior renovation, a pretty straight forward proposal bringing in more natural light, creating architectural landmark in the existing space and add some attitudes into it. For us, sometimes big scale architectures like shopping malls, airports, stations etc. are built like numb giants. With the vast size they don’t establish conversation to people using their space. If possible, we would like the design a giant that start talking to people. We implement a lot of charactoristic details into the space and public furniture to convey the messages.


void_Aliftlift lobby(Space marking diagram, Elevator towers & Highrise lobby)

tive_in1tive_in2(Main Entrance spaces)

void_A_photoharbor037ele(2 elevator towers as landmarks)

toilet sign(hallway to WC compound)