Thailand travel guide




Thailand Travel Guide

Architecture in Thailand

The Architecture of Thailand symbolizes the Thai peopleís sense of community and religious beliefs.

A developmental history of classical Thai architecture can be found through surviving temples, wood and stone
have traditionally been used in construction, but most early Thai buildings made of wood have disappeared with time. On the other hand, some early Thai temples stand as proud proofs of the once leading Thai architecture.

Thailand has hundreds monasteries, temples and buildings. Examples of Thai architecture can also be seen in the famous towns of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya; various ancient carved wooden buildings can be found in Chang Mai. Bangkok, by itself, has over 400 Buddhist buildings such as Wat Arun. Other examples of classical Thai architecture may be found in buildings like Grand Palace, Wat Suthat and Who Pho.

The most renowned example of Buddhist architecture could be seen at Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). The sanctuary has within interiors exquisite decorations and carvings made out of numerous colors and textures, the Wat shows a golden Ayutthaya with marble prangs, priceless pearls doors. Almost every surface within the temple is covered with beautiful decorations.

The most imposing example of modern Thai Buddhist architecture is the Bangkok's Wat Benchamabophit (the Marble Temple) which was designed by Prince Naris and built by King Chulalongkorn, the temple is built of Carrara marble from Italy, the internal part of the main building is brilliantly decorated with cross beams of lacquer and gold.

Thai Buddhist architects developed their personal characteristic styles of soaring rooftops and towering spires straining toward the sky. Harmoniously combining two apparently contradictory elements, flamboyancy and peacefulness, the style absolutely mirrors the Thai soul.

Thai Thailand art and architecture was heavily influenced by the traditions and themes of Indian, Khmer, Buddhist and other Thailandís neighbors. The non National regional themes in Northern Thailand were influenced by Burmese, Mon, Shan, Tai Lu, Tai Yuan and other minority ethnic groups. In Southern Thailand, themes were influenced by the Srivajaya Empire, the Malay and Chinese. In Central Thailand there are traces of Lop Buri, U Thong and Khmer art and architecture and in East Thailand there are vestiges from Tai Lao and Khmer architecture.

During the Sukhothai period, buildings were strongly Khmer influenced; sandstone was used to form door parts, lintels, and rectangular windows. Brick substituted sandstone as the chosen material during the 12th century. Bound with vegetable glue, the bricks were laid without mortar and then enclosed in carved stone. Yet another change came when architects used materials like stucco (sand, lime, glue and terracotta) to cover brick walls.

The finest Thai architecture was also influenced by the Chinese, it could be seen in the use of ornamental decoration, particularly in the use of colors, adornments and porcelain parts, this form achieved success in the 19th century, and it is testified in the harmony and coordination of the Thai architecture.

Around 1900 conventional Thai architecture declined when buildings were being built in European and western styles, the concepts of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright were adopted by local architects, at this time construction of classic buildings almost ceased.

In the 1990ís, Thai architecture was revamped with new industrial materials and machines, following the Western principles of structure, plan and functionalism, reflecting not only individual taste but also such matters as conservationism, energy consumption, zoning regulations.

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