- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 30 May 2017
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.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Big Duck.
- 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
Brokenshire launches an implementation plan for the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt.
BSRIA publication provides guidance about the capture and analysis of big data.
Gove launches a waste and resources strategy for England.
Only 9% of construction workers are 24 or younger.
Blighting local areas, preventing investment and and encouraging anti-social behaviour.
Sharing knowledge about the conservation of the built and historic environment.
CIOB launches a call to improve quality in the built environment.
Vastint gets permission for a 6.6 hectare site to support the expansion of Leeds’ city core.
One of the Isle of Man’s best 1960s buildings.
Using renewable energy in developing countries - QSAND and Loughborough University Research collaboration.
From frost damage to sulphate attack, common causes of defects in brickwork.