Contemporary Architecture in Thailand. A Talk by Sumet Jumsai


As part of Thai cultural and artistic expressions, architecture in Thailand can be a sight to behold as a beauty or a beast depending on its functions, regions, beliefs, styles, designers, and viewers.  For traditional architectural gems, the country also has a wealth of palaces, temples, residences, and shophouses.  From mid-20th century onwards, contemporary architects have dreamt and realized their visions through their creative processes, drawing boards, drafts, and blueprints.  Many are influenced by Modern, Postmodern, and other Western trends and styles while some look to the past and vernacular styles and develop new interpretations of local and Eastern aesthetics.

The Siam Society proudly presents the new lecture series on “Contemporary Architecture in Thailand.” The speakers are architects, both Thai and foreign, who have designed and created spectacular buildings around Thailand and other countries.  They will talk about their inspirations, influences, visions, trials, efforts, and achievements.  Their characteristic styles range from Modern to Postmodern, contemporary, and tropical, and from clean and functional to ornate and extravagant, and to sustainable and environmentally friendly.  Award-winning architects and National Artists of Thailand such as Sumet Jumsai and Mathar Bunnag will be among the lecturers of this series.

The first lecture in the series will be given by Prof. Sumet Jumsai is a leading architect who has been practising for over forty years. A doctoral graduate from Cambridge University, Sumet was awarded National Artist of Thailand in 1998, elected a member of the French Académie d'Architecture in 2002 and became a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Letters in France in 2008, amongst other accolades that includes nine Gold Medal Awards for architecture from the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage. His buildings in Thailand include the iconic "Robot Building" on Sathorn Road and the Nation building, housing a bank and national newspaper respectively. They acutely reflect post – modern vocabulary and forms.

Sumet's architectural exhibitions include the Venice Biennale 1996, the internationally toured Cities on the Move during 1997 – 8, which explored the phenomenon of contemporary Asian cities, and Art & Architettura 1900-2004 at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa in 2004 – 5. The architect's achievements have been widely published and publications include Contemporary Architects (Chicago1980), The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture (London 1991) and World Architecture 1900 – 2000: A Critical Mosaic (New York 2000). A prolific visual artist and author as well as architect, he has exhibited his painting in France, Austria and Thailand and his books include NAGA: Cultural Origins in Siam and the West Pacific (Oxford 1998), which explains the origin of civilization in the Far East 20,000 years ago. NAGA has been translated into Thai, Japanese, Korean and French (2016).

Date: Thursday, 7 December 2017
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2016-2017 Lecture Series.