6 October 2010
Silent Skyscrapers of Thialand
They stand like massive man-made skeletons, abandoned towers that were supposed to be luxurious high-rise residences, hotels and office buildings. The ghost structures that haunt Bangkok, Thailand – abandoned in mid-construction since Asia’s 1997-1998 economic meltdown – are a sad and frightening hint at what many stalled skyscraper projects around the world might become.
An estimated 320 high rises have been left to rot for over a decade. Some, like the 68-story neoclassical State Tower, were finally finished. But many – like the 47-story Sathorn Unique Tower – may dot the skyline in visually striking if not beautiful spires of rusting metal and stained concrete for years to come. Though construction continues on new buildings across Bangkok, the bankrupt developers who began these abandoned skyscrapers are unable or unwilling to take action. During storms, crumbling debris rains down on the streets below.
The bloggers at Riding Out the Economy got a look inside the Sathorn Unique. Litter and construction materials strewn on every floor, pitch black stairways, gaping holes and menacing exposed metal pipes gave the interior a disturbingly post-apocalyptic atmosphere. But once they reached the roof, the incredible views of the city made it clear why this building was set to be such a prestigious address when it was conceived.
“There was a skeletal aspect to everything: pipes, wires, outlets, rebar all left uncovered in an otherwise fairly complete project,” they write. “Rooms were left wide open to the elements, but had fully furnished bathrooms and wood floors already put in and left to rot. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Once up the escalators, we were faced with abandoned rooms, adorned with the oddest objects: a manikin, the King’s picture, a dilapidated couch.”