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Elephant Building, Bangkok, Thailand

The building is one of the most famous buildings in Thailand due to its unique elephantine characteristics. The design and construction was a
collaborative effort between Dr Arun Chaisaree and architect Ong-ard Satrabhandhu.

Symbol of Justice and Fortune

In Southeast Asia-especially in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia-white elephants are regarded as holy animals and are worshipped. They are symbol for the power of the monarchy and a white elephant was on the flag of Thailand (Siam) until the beginning of the 20th century. To possess a white elephant was regarded as a sign that the monarch was ruling with justice and the kingdom was blessed with peace and prosperity.

Buildings are also sometimes constructed in designs based on local characteristics or symbolic icons. ‘Elephant Building’ also known as Chand Building in Bangkok, Thailand, is a distinctive example. This building, constructed in 1997, has the shape of an enormous elephant. Elephants are regarded as special beings in Thailand. A large number of elephants inhabited Thailand for a long period of time, and maintained close relationship with humans. The elephant is a symbol of longevity and trust, as well as authority of the royal family. Consequently, this elephant-shaped building has drawn a great deal of attention from local natives.

Sumet Jumsai, a Thai architect who designed Elephant Building, divided the building into A, B and C sections, but the upper floors of each section are connected. The building also has the eyes and ivories of an elephant, so it certainly resembles an elephant when viewed from the side. The building features various facilities for tourists, including a shopping mall and swimming pool. This building consists of 32 floors, and its height is 102m. Elephant Building is beloved by locals for its elephant shape, a sacred animal in Thailand, and the various facilities they can utilize.

The building is one of the most famous buildings in Thailand due to its unique elephantine characteristics. The design and construction was a collaborative effort between Dr Arun Chaisaree and architect Ong-ard Satrabhandhu. The Elephant Building was awarded number 4 for the "20 World's Most Iconic Skyscrapers" by CNNGo in February 2011.  The Chand Building is a national landmark that references actual and symbolic elephants that have been an integral part of Thai culture, industry and religion for centuries. The three towers (A, B, and C) make up the animal shape, which can be seen best along the Expressway. On the right edge of the building you can also see the details of an eye and tusk. It is a fun and playful construction that will intrigue people of all ages. While it may not be worth a direct visit, the building attracts thousands of tourists annually for its grandeur.

This building was designed in 1985. A contemporary of Buckminster Fuller, Ar. Sumet Jumsai  took inspiration from his son's toy robot and let it loose on a design for the Bank of Asia (now United Overseas Bank) headquarters. A sign of the times, this post modern architecture and cheery robot signifies the friendly face of technology. Every robotic aspect in the building is well-planned and well-used. His eyes are the dining and meeting rooms of the executive suites, his eyelids are sunshades, his antennae are lightning rods. His nuts were the biggest in the world at time of development. Planning regulations give him his stepped-back sides and the blue curtain walls representing the colour of the Bank of Thailand provide much-needed shade.

The building’s legs house a vertical stack of offices, shops and luxury apartments, rising 102m to a roof garden, complete with a swimming pool. Seen as a symbolic lucky animal, it has become a popular venue for weddings and rivals Jumsai’s robot building as the city’s most loved office block.

While it's ultra-modern lines are a far cry from the traditional realism of Lucy the Elephant's wood-frame and tin-sheathed profile, the Elephant Tower clearly qualifies -- and is internationally recognized -- as an "Elephant Building," thus making Lucy the world's second largest elephant building. This tradition meant that the owner of a new office building in Ratchyothin, north of Bangkok, decided to build the complex in the shape of a white elephant, hoping for good luck and success. It is part of the new Ratchyothin business district north of Bangkok, Thailand. The building has huge parking facilities for 1,200 cars.

For much of the 116 years of its existence, the Atlantic City area's Lucy the Elephant Building was the world's largest elephant-shaped structure. That changed in 1997 with the opening of the Elephant Tower in Bangkok Thailand ever since, it became a national icon as well as the world's largest elephant building. Some 560 feet long and 130 feet wide, its ears are actually multi-storied balconies, its eyes are huge windows, its tail is comprised of 20 stories of smoked-glass enclosed rooms jutting from its rear, and its tusks house the offices of the building’s management company.

A sign of the times, this post modern architecture and cheery robot signifies the friendly face of technology. Every robotic aspect in the building is well-planned and well-used.

The complex is located in the Chatuchak District in the northern part of Thailand's capital city. The tower was one of a slew of uniquely shaped or sized buildings sprouting across Asia from Shanghai to Mumbai in the 90s, each symbolizing a new level of corporate prowess or national pride. For instance, along with the elephant, Bangkok also saw the rise of a skyscraper shaped like a robot and another shaped like a pair of gargantuan diamonds.

Takes Over Lucy Elephant Structure

Elephant Building being largest animal building has created something of an awkward situation for Lucy's (elephant building at Margate city, US) current managers who continue to aggressively promote the Margate tourist attraction as "The World's Largest Elephant" building, even though it isn't anymore. But, perhaps that's wonderfully true to the spirit Lucy's creator, James Lafferty, who applied similar carnival barker hyperbole to his own 1880's seashore real estate sales scheme.

Not surprising, the creator of Bangkok's Elephant Tower -- Thai Senator, engineer and real estate mogul Arun Chaiseri -- was as much a character as Lafferty. Chaiseri studied engineering at the University of Illinois in the U.S. and went on to build one of Thailand's largest engineering firms --Arun Chaiseri Consulting Engineers Company Ltd. He also was an advocate for the welfare of Thailand's large stock of real elephants and maintained his own museum exhibiting more than 2,000 elephant-shaped art objects, including thousand-year-old porcelains.

Switzerland-based and known for special constructions method, VSL Heavy Lifting was responsible for lifting four twin steel trusses to approximately 100m above ground level from a temporary fabrication platform at a third floor transfer level. The trusses were lifted by four SLU-30 hydraulic jacks. Each pair of trusses spanned 32.7m and weighed about 106 tonnes. The solution for lifting the complete steel trusses had significant advantages for the whole project including shortening the construction schedule, better quality of the assembly and resulting in improved safety savings in false work and building platforms.

Elephant Building- Perfect and Convenient Combination for Modern Lifestyle Each part is high standard building equipment separated and security is strictly implemented. All are equipped with high standard equipment including:

  • Building automation system
  • Computer controlled high speed elevator
  • Pressurized fire escape
  • Alarming and security equipment
  • Drinking water purifying system
  • Recycled water system
  • Fitness & recreation facilities, swimming pool & gardens
  • Environmental and energy saving design

The elephant tower is designed to be of environmental and energy conscious:

  • Low heat emittable exterior
  • Energy saving lighting system
  • Proper balance of natural light
  • Recycled waste water system
  • Natural ventilation

References:

http://www.levins.com/lucy_bangkok.html

http://www.eptg-acsc.co.th/real%20estate/home.htm

http://www.samsungcntblog.com/2014/09/architecture-worldwide-distinctively-designed-structures-around-the-world/

http://www.vsl-heavy-lifting.com/references/buildings/elephant-tower-thailand-58.php

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