THIS PROJECT HAS PROVIDED THE ARCHITECT the opportunity to deal with the urban fabric which features a large multi-story car park and an outdoor lot between two of the main streets in Chiang Mai. Unlike the contemporary anti-urban examples which show the buildings stepping back from the street line or even in the center of the plot, the buildings are aligned at the front of the property where a series of pedestrian colonnades shield both the traffic and sun. The project gives back the urban order, a village with atmosphere, architectural variety based on perimeter blocks, and courtyards.
Newars architecture, with its system of pitched roofs and wooden brackets, has been used as inspiration and guidance as a historical model. This can be observed in the system of big and small squares; the Market Hall, a French vernacular wooden building on the Market Square; a suspended link-building, such as those that can be seen in the historic Italian villages; and the Galleria that accommodates sidewalk cafés and shops under its glass-metal pitched cover.
In addition to this main pedestrian system of spaces, there are small squares with passages that offer interrupted views which lead the eyes to unexpected pathways. The main focal point is the clock tower on the Market Square.
All of the buildings are worthy of note; the hotel is the only building to step back from the street in order to preserve a large tree; the restaurant is beneath the tower which is located where the two roads meet; a building, like a medieval Bolognese house, is located on the main street and contributes to the continuum of the colonnade; and an existing parking structure which is thoughtfully integrated into the complex. A brick-lined Chinese-inspired wall with “gelosia” on the upper floor references rural Italian structures. The detailed use of brick on the façades, arches, and architraves is well considered throughout the project.