Robot Building, Bangkok
The Robot Building is the current headquarters of United Overseas Bank and is located in the Sathorn business district of Bangkok, Thailand. Since its completion in 1987, it has come to be seen as one of the last examples of modernist architecture in the city.
It was designed by the Thai architect Sumet Jumsai for the Bank of Asia, with the intention of representing the increasing influence of computer technology on the banking industry. He was apparently inspired by seeing his young son’s plastic toy robot. Jumsai wanted the building to be a reaction against high-tech postmodern architecture, which he saw as being “a protest movement which seeks to replace without offering a replacement”.
To achieve the robot-like appearance of the 20-storey building, the sides step-back progressively in stages. This design technique also served as an efficient solution to the setback regulations that required an 18-degree incline from each side of the property line.
Two antennae on the roof serve as communications and lightning rods. The eyes are provided by two 6 m (19.7 ft) reflective glass windows looking out from executive meeting rooms, with eyelids made of metallic louvers. The building’s sides are adorned with ‘steel nuts’ made of glass-reinforced concrete, the largest of which measure 3.8 m (12.5 ft) in diameter, making them the largest in the world at the time of construction.
Despite some detractors, the Robot Building remains an icon of Bangkok architecture, and was selected by Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art as one of the 50 seminal buildings of the 20th century.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Angkor Wat.
- Building of the week series.
- Dancing House, Prague.
- Dunmore Pineapple.
- Fish Building, India.
- Fuji TV Building, Tokyo.
- Habitat 67.
- Lotus Temple.
- Lloyds of London.
- MahaNakhon, Bangkok.
- Ministry of Transportation Building, Georgia.
- Nakagin Capsule Tower.
- Office Center 1000 Kaunas.
- Owl House, South Korea.
- The Big Basket.
- The Gherkin.
- Unusual building design of the week.
Featured articles and news
Do you know all the various types of defects in brickwork?
US museum reveals plans for an installation made entirely of paper tubes.
Review of a book looking at how contemporary architecture found its expression within neoliberal capitalism.
The Great Mosque of Djenne, the largest mud-brick building in the world.
Amanda Clack, RICS President offers recommendations to government on Brexit and the construction skills shortage.
Tired of the commute? This architecture firm believes the best solution is to take cars underground.
Why do so many women leave engineering? Probably not for the reason you’re thinking.
For over 30 years David Trench was one of the UK's leading project managers. Read about his career through some of his most famous projects.
Leading institutes join forces calling for property flood resilience measures to help householders avoid repeat flooding.
CITB publish new report calling for the development of new skills standards for offsite construction.
Residents of neighbouring building go to High Court claiming viewing platform infringes their human rights.
If only Easter eggs came as large as this one in a Japanese bird sanctuary.