Endorsed by

2018 National Architecture Awards: The Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture

Australian Embassy Bangkok by BVN International Architecture: The Jørn Utzon Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

The new Australian Embassy in Bangkok is a carefully considered replacement for Ken Woolley’s well-regarded 1979 building. Located on a different site, the new embassy is isolated from its chaotic host city, with complex security requirements skilfully and invisibly embedded in the design. There are three buildings on the site – residence, guardhouse and chancery – strategically separated and overlaid with an ambitious landscape that will quickly enhance the compound. The concept for the site acknowledges a fondness for the original embassy building, taking several architectural cues from it, including embedded allegory. Like its predecessor, the new building successfully combines the identity and elements of two cultures. The ground floor is impacted inside and out by lush landscapes and pools (providing a new home for relocated pet turtles and fish). This relationship between building and water reflects Bangkok’s waterways and exotic gardens, while also suggesting an island continent. The materiality and form of each building recall more than the disappearing heritage of Thai brickwork, making clear reference to Australia’s landscape. The ambassador’s residence is covered in blue/black brick, the guardhouse in earthy dark brown, and the chancery has an intense terracotta brick with a building scale, form and intensity that evoke the mass and physical impact of Uluru. The embassy is a tranquil working and living environment, a strong contemporary presence for Australia and a successful symbol of the strength of cultural diplomatic ties.

For more coverage, Tom Heneghan project review from Architecture Australia Mar/Apr 2018.


Project Team
James Grose (principal), Peter Clarke (project director), Asher Galvin, Andrew Buchanan, Mark Greene (project architects), Alex Swan, Alison Bounds, Barry Dineen, Daniel Londono, Delia Ngay, Eric Yeoh, Janene Fowlstone, Jessica Enander, Joe Fiumedinisi,, Jonathan Capparelli, Lucy Rimmer, Lynn Limpivest, Mark French, Mark Gazy, Pabhimol Sontitim, Pouwel Wind, Stephanie Chiu, Waranu Makarabhiron
Access consultant Eric Martin and Associates
Acoustic consultant Wilkinson Murray
Associate architect and landscape consultant Beaumont Partnership
Building surveyor (design development) Fire Safety Science
Building surveyors (documentation) WSP Australia and McKenzie Group
Civil and structural consultant TWW
Kitchen design consultant Tri-Arc Enterprises
Services consultant WSP Australia
Water elements consultant Waterforms International
Site details
Category Commercial / public buildings
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2017
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