The new office annex for the U.S. Embassy Bangkok will support the continued expansion of U.S.-Thai diplomatic, security, and commercial relations and strengthen ties with the Thai people. The new building will modernize the U.S. Embassy’s platform for providing Consular services and conducting diplomacy and represents the importance of our longstanding alliance with the Kingdom of Thailand. In more than two centuries of friendship, the United States and Thailand have strengthened cooperation in all sectors, from bilateral trade to international law enforcement to public health. The new annex will house U.S. agencies currently located in different facilities across Bangkok, centralize our existing operations, and further strengthen bilateral cooperation.
Annex construction will also significantly benefit the local economy. The United States will spend $625 million dollars on this project and employ approximately 2,000 local workers throughout the construction period. Located in Pathum Wan, a commercial district outside of the old city, the New Ofﬁce Annex’s large site features mature rain trees with impressive canopies that stretch almost 65 feet across, adding to the very green Lumpini Park area. SHoP Architects of New York is architect, and the construction contract was awarded in summer 2021 to B.L. Harbert International of Montgomery, Alabama.
Design & Construction
A cosmopolitan and dynamic city, Bangkok is deﬁned by glassy skyscrapers, a rich architectural heritage, a vibrant culture, and street life that draws visitors from around the world. The city is suffused as well with a lush, often intense tropical environment. The team endeavored to incorporate that dual nature into the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ (OBO) mission: to create secure, resilient, and sustainable projects that reﬂect American values and the best in American architecture, design, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.
In reviewing the Embassy’s needs, the team established goals to ensure the project would be a vital part of the U.S. Mission for at least ﬁfty years: build safe and functional spaces for America’s diplomatic work; create sustainable and resilient solutions speciﬁc to the site; allow for future adaptability and growth; and develop a design that reﬂects America’s culture and values while being sensitive to local culture, climate, and traditions.
With over 1,000 staff members to accommodate, the team balanced a large space need, the preservation of landscape and outdoor space, and challenging climactic conditions of heat, rain, and humidity. Looking to Bangkok and its architectural traditions, the designers found a layered quality made up of a series of spaces to address shading, air circulation, and cover in a way that softens the transition between indoors and outdoors. Thai architecture creates this layering with elevated living quarters that provide shaded gathering spaces below.
The design of the new facility underscores the important diplomatic relationship between the United States and Thailand and is a concrete symbol of America’s continued commitment to northern Thailand for generations to come.
The new campus design is organized into two zones. The south zone is the public side, including the Consular office building, public entrance pavilions, and Marine Security Guard Residence. The north zone is dedicated to “Back of House” functions, such as parking, warehouse, workshops, and the utility building.
The new consular design was inspired by the rich architectural landscapes and design traditions of northern Thailand. The design incorporates a lush landscape and a sala, a traditional Thai outdoor terrace that will be used for formal events. The new office building consists of four volumes separated by glazed links, reflecting traditional Lanna architecture with modules separated by public spaces. The design of the metal and glass-clad building envelope reflects the local tradition of layered screened architecture of Chiang Mai.
Resiliency & Stewardship
Inspired by Thailand’s architectural heritage and sensitive to the Southeast Asian climate, the contemporary design blends Thai traditions with the best in American architecture, design, engineering, technology, and construction. The project targets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification and incorporates many features designed to make the building more sustainable.
The permanent art collection, curated by OBO’s Office of Art in Embassies, will encompass art in a variety of media, including painting, photography, textile, and sculpture by both American and Thai artists. The collection will seek to create a dialogue of shared values between the people of our two countries. Highlights will include site-specific commissions that reflect an understanding of the diversity and richness of American and Thai cultural heritage.