BANGKOK CITY LIBRARY

ONE OF THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL PROJECTS OF THE BANGKOK METROPOLITAN OFFICE OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, BANGKOK CITY LIBRARY HOUSES DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF BOOKS FROM COOKING AND HEALTH TO TRAVEL AS WELL AS A MAGAZINE ZONE

From the conception of the Bangkok City Library to its official opening in late April of 2017, the Bangkok Metropolitan’s plans evolved in terms of location. The first notion was to renovate the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration City Hall 1 at Sao Ching Cha into the city library and a museum with the aim for the project to be carried out after the relocation of the office to City Hall 2 in Din Daeng. However, since the scheduled relocation didn’t go as planned, an alternative site was designated with the final selection being a 4-story building at  Khok Wua Intersection on Ratchadamnuen Road owned by the Bureau of King’s Property. Right Man Company was assigned to oversee the renovation of the 4,880.38-square-meter functional space with the first floor accommodating an information center, book circulation and reading areas. The library houses different categories of books from cooking and health to travel as well as a magazine zone. A library for persons with disabilities was ramified from the main spatial program, offering greater convenience and accessibility to users. The mezzanine or M floor has been adapted into another library and activity space for children while the second floor hosts the rare books collection, short stories, novels, funeral books and a study area as well as a multifunctional room. The third floor is occupied by an exhibition celebrating King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his writings, books about his royal missions, an honorary hall of fame and archive where important incidents are documented in the form of a traveling exhibition.

Bangkok City Library, Photo courtesy of Bangkok Metropolitan Office

It’s undeniable that the library is one of the most substantial and creative projects we’ve seen coming from the Bangkok Metropolitan Office over the past several years (compared to the bizarre bike lane that takes over the existing roadway with its disrupted connectivity and failure to relate itself to the local communities and the zigzagging lines at the pedestrian crossings that don’t seem to help anyone or improve anything). Not only that, the yellow building was conceived with a tangible purpose and functionality of the environment and lighting system in mind that combines the presence of natural and artificial light to create both a reader-friendly ambience and a space well-suited to accommodate diverse functionalities. The only problematic issue seems to be the classification system and the volume of books that gives an end result similar to a retail shop’s display while the quality and diversity of the donated books themselves is mostly out of date and does not match the interests of the library’s users.

Bangkok City Library, Photo courtesy of Bangkok Metropolitan Office

TEXT: SUDAPORN JIRANUKORNSAKUL
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