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Power, identity, and the rise of modern architecture

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Title:
Power, identity, and the rise of modern architecture from Siam to Thailand
Creator:
Koompong Noobanjong
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
413 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Architecture -- Thailand -- 19th century ( lcsh )
Architecture -- Thailand -- 20th century ( lcsh )
Architecture -- Western -- Thailand ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 400-413).
General Note:
College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Koompong Noobanjong.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
79373899 ( OCLC )
ocm79373899
Classification:
NA1521 .N66 2003a ( lcc )

Full Text
POWER, IDENTITY, AND THE RISE OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE
FROM SIAM TO THAILAND
by
Koompong Noobanjong
B. ARCH, Rangsit University, Thailand, 1993
M.ARCH, University of Colorado at Denver, 1998
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Design and Planning
2003


@ 2003 by Koompong Noobanjong
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Koompong Noobanjong
has been approved
by
2*
fonald M. Bemii


Noobanjong, Koompong (Ph.D., Design and Planning)
Power, Identity, and the Rise of Modem Architecture: from Siam to Thailand
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Taisto H. Makela
ABSTRACT
Modem architecture is a creation of the West. In a non-Westem context, it
normally reflects a direct intervention of Western powers through colonization.
Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is an exception. Thai people have argued that
they adopted and assimilated modem architecture into their unique cultural
tradition without being physically colonized.
The shift toward Western culture and Modernity is evident in 19th and 20th century
Thai architecture, particularly in the capitol city of Bangkok. Major public
buildings signify the countrys domestic political circumstances, its Westernization
and Modernization processes, in addition to the discourse of colonialism and anti-
colonialism. Many of the best-known works resulted in hybrids between European
and Siamese design characteristics. They hold more importance than simply
stylistic developments, and in essence show a manifestation of social and political
awareness, as well as national and cultural identity known as Thainess or
khwampenthai.
This dissertation examines the evolution of Western and Modem architecture in
Siam and Thailand. It illustrates how various architectural ideas have contributed
to the physical design and spatial configuration of places associated with
negotiation and allocation of political power, which are throne halls, parliaments,
and government and civic structures since the 1850s.
In order to advance multi-cultural and cross-cultural studies, the buildings are
investigated for their social, political, economic and cultural signification,
considering the issues of cultural borrowing, appropriation and transformation,
national and cultural identity, socio-political authority, as well as the natives
resistance and reconciliation to the process of colonization.
IV


This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Taisto H. Makela


DEDICATION
This dissertation is inspired by, and dedicated to, my fellow Thais who lost their
lives, as well as those who suffered physically and mentally for their resistance to
colonization and any form of oppression. The appreciation also extends to those
who were punished by their own society, simply because they dared to question
the basis of their existence: khwampenthai or Thainess.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
My thanks are owed to the many people who made this dissertation possible.
First, my sincere gratitude goes to Prof. Taisto H. Makela, principle advisor and
mentor, for his support, encouragement, and guidance, as well as to Prof. Joan E.
Draper, Moyo Okediji, Ronald M. Bernier, and Mark G. Gelemter for their
patience, insight, and constructive criticism. Together, not only did they contribute
to my academic progressfrom improving my poor English to studying new ideas
and undertaking researchbut helped me in times of difficulty.
I wish to extend my appreciation to the Director of the Ph.D. Program in Design
and Planning, Prof. Willem van Vliet, for his generous support and kindness.
Throughout the years in the United States, Prof, van Vlietalong with my fellow
Ph.D. studentsexpressed their encouragement and belief in the value of this
dissertation. Various discussions with them convinced me of the validity and
importance to undertake it. Also, I appreciate Melanie Shellenbarger and Joel
Jensen as my valuable readers.
I would like to acknowledge my colleagues at King Mongkuts Institute of
Technology, Lardkrabang for their moral support. Comments from Thongchai
Winichakul, whose research has been vital to me, were significant. Many thanks
to Pensupa Sukata, the staff at the Department of Fine Arts, the Library of the
Parliament, the National Library, the Royal Archives, and the Bureau of Royal
Household for providing valuable access to archival materials for my research in
Thailand. An interview with the Speaker and President of the House of
Parliament, Uthai Pimchaichon, was highly appreciated as well.
Finally, I must admit that without the love, care, encouragement, and help from my
parents, I would never have been able to finish this dissertation, let alone pursue
my Ph.D. studies. Last but not least, my special thanks goes to Deborah F.
Barrow, whose affection made my staying in the U.S. one of the most memorable
experiences. Her dedicated and persistent editing brought this dissertation to its
final form.


CONTENTS
Figures................................................................xii
Maps..................................................................xxxi
Diagrams.............................................................xxxii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION......................................... 1
Subject of Inquiry..................................1
Framework and Premise of Study......................2
Purpose of Investigation, Mode of Problematization
and Research Questions..............................4
Scope of Inquiry, Objects of Study,
Theories and Methods of Investigation...............7
Modem Architecture.............................7
History of Thailand: 19th and 20th Centuries..10
Cross-cultural Studies........................13
Methodology........................................18
Conceptualization..................................22
Research Organization............................. 28
2. LITERATURE REVIEW.....................................35
Westernization and Modernization...................35
Westernization and Modernization:
from Siam to Thailand..............................36
The Coexistence of Different Concepts and
Interpretations.................................. 38
Modem Architecture............................38
History of Thailand: 19th and 20th Centuries..46
Cross-cultural Studies........................53
Struggles for Interpretations Continue.............71
3. THE POLITICS OF ARCHITECTURE..........................83
Power, Identity, and Architecture..................83
Siam and Thailand as a Cultural Construct.....84
Architecture and Thai Identity................84
viii


Architecture and Power........................85
Mystifying Thai Identity:
Indian, Khmer, and Chinese Influences................89
The Making of Power and Identity via
Architecture in Traditional Siam..............95
Modernization and Westernization of Thai Identity
through Architecture.................................98
Colonization and Oppression...................99
The Mechanism of Colonization and
Oppression in Siam......................... 100
The Revolution From Above to Counter
Westem Colonization..........................106
Constructing a Pedigree of
a Civilized Community........................Ill
The Discourse of Nationhood..................113
Thailand: a Democratic Nation
in an International Community................116
The Power of Architecture...........................124
4. COLONIAL IMPOSITION (1850-1932)........................140
Architecture and the Poetry of Oppression...........140
Western Architects and Architecture in Siam...141
The Instruments of Oppression: the Architects,
the Patrons, and the Work
(The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)............143
Case Studies: the Poetry of Oppression Manifested....151
Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall...............152
Borommabhiman Royal Residence................161
Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall.................165
Raj adamnem Avenue...........................171
Interpreting the Colonial Imposition
through the Case Studies............................176
Spiritual and Intellectual Signification.....176
Social, Economic, and Political Signification.181
The Creation of a Nation State...............185
Two Sides of the Same Coin: Colonization vs.
Anti-colonization...................................187
5. COLONIAL OPPOSITION (1850-1932)........................199
Confrontation.......................................200
Annexation..........................................209
IX


Negotiation.........................................210
Reclamation.........................................222
Juxtaposition.......................................224
Reversion...........................................227
The Colonial Opposition Revealed....................239
6. COLONIAL EXPOSITION (1932-1979).........................237
King Vajiravudh, the Ideas of
Royal Nationalism, and Democracy....................241
The End of Absolute Monarchy and the Closure of the
Golden Age for Farangs Architects in Siam...........247
The Democratic Era and the
Rise of Modem Architecture..........................251
Consolidating the Newly Acquired Power
through Architecture..........................253
The Displacement and Replacement of
Architectural Meanings........................254
Constmcting New Architecture of the State
and Its Meanings..............................255
Modem Architecture and the Process of
National Building.............................257
The House of Parliament: an Empty Promise for
Democracy...........................................266
The Design of the National Assembly,
the House of Parliament.......................267
Interpreting the Aesthetics of Power Politics
from the National Assembly....................273
Fights for Democracy: Peoples Self-Empowerment
Manifested in Built Forms...........................278
The Legacy of the Colonial Exposition...............281
7. THE COLONIAL EMIGRATION (1980-PRESENT)..................292
Black May 1992: the Generals Swan Song.............293
Rude Awakening: the Economic Crash of 1997........ 295
Globalization: Neo-Colonialism or
an Easy Scapegoat...................................298
Architectural Styles during the Colonial Emigration.301
Interpreting the Architecture of the
Colonial Emigration.................................303
The New House of Parliament:
Uncritical Reading of History in Built Forms..303


The National Cultural Center and Suvamabhumi
International Airport: Form Follows Finance.......308
Persisting Questions................315
8. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION................323
APPENDIX
A. NAMES AND CHRONOLOGY OF KINGS OF SIAM
AND THAILAND IN THE CHAKRI DYNASTY....345
B. NAMES AND CHRONOLOGY OF
THE PRIME MINISTERS OF THAILAND.......346
C. NAMES AND CHRONOLOGY OF
WESTERN ARCHITECTS WORKING IN SIAM....349
D. THE STYLISTIC ANALYSES OF
WESTERN ARCHITECTURE IN SIAM..........355
E. THE STYLISTIC ANALYSES OF
MODERN ARCHITECTURE IN THAILAND.......361
F. THE ANALYSES OF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES
DURING THE COLONIAL EMIGRATION PERIOD..379
G. THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT DURING THE
COLONIAL EXPOSITION PERIOD............384
BIBLIOGRAPHY......................................400
XI


FIGURES
1-1 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall,
Bangkok, 1876, the Bureau of Royal Household.......................8
1-2 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall,
Bangkok, 1907, the Bureau of Royal Household.......................8
1 -3 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament.......................8
1 -4 The Proposed Design for New House of Parliament, 2003,
the author........................................................8
1-5 The Department of Public Works, the Supreme Court,
Bangkok, 1935, Tourism Authority of Thailand.......................9
1 -6 The Department of Public Works, the Bureau of Public Relations Old
Headquarters, Bangkok, 1963, the Association of Siamese Architects.9
1-7 Mario Tamagno, Hualampong Central Train Station,
Bangkok, 1907, Tourism Authority of Thailand.......................9
1-8 Jitrsean Apaiwong, the Rajadamnern Edifice Groups, 1941,
Tourism Authority of Thailand.....................................9
1-9 Jitrsean Apaiwong and Corrado Feroci,
Democracy Monument, Bangkok, 1939, Bangkok Post...................9
1-10 The Department of Public Works, Standard Design for the
Provincial Government Headquarters, ca. 1950s,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................9
1-11 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, Benjamabopit Temple, Bangkok, 1901,
Tourism Authority of Thailand.....................................9
1-12 Mario Tamagno, the Prime Minister Chancellery, Bangkok,
ca. 1910s, Muang Boran............................................9
1-13 The Department of Fine Arts, the National Theater,
Bangkok, ca. 1950s, the Department of Fine Arts....................9
1-14 The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), 17th century,
Bangkok, Tourism Authority of Thailand...........................10
1-15 Temple of Reclining Buddha (Wat Poh),
Bangkok, 1781, Tourism Authority of Thailand.....................10
1-16 Traditional Thai House, Ruan Ton, Dusit Palace, 19th-20th century,
Bangkok, the Association of Siamese Architects.....................10
xii


1-17
Temple of the Metal Palace (Wat Rajanatda),
Bangkok, 1864,Tourism Authority of Thailand......................10
1-18 The Grand Palace (Praborommaharaj awung),
Bangkok, 1782, the Bureau of Royal Household.....................10
1-19 Temple of Emerald Buddha (Wat Prakao), Bangkok, 1782
the Bureau of Royal Household............... ....................10
1 -20 Temple of Emerald Buddha (W at Prakao), Bangkok, 1782
the Bureau of Royal Household....................................10
1-21 Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, Bangkok, 1790
the Bureau of Royal Household....................................10
1-22 Phra Maha Monthian Throne Hall, Bangkok, 1782
the Bureau of Royal Household....................................10
1-23 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence, Bangkok, 1897,
the Bureau of Royal Household:...................................10
3-1 Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 8th century AD,
the Author.......................................................90
3-2 The Grand Palace at Ayutthaya, 15th century, Ayutthaya,
Thailand Tourism Authority of Thailand...........................90
3-3 The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), 17th century, Bangkok,
Tourism Authority of Thailand....................................90
3 -4 Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall,
Bangkok, 1790, the Bureau of Royal Household.....................90
3-5 Portions of Maps from the Traiphumi Manuscript,
Tongchai Winichakul..............................................91
3-6 Portions of Maps from the Traiphumi Manuscript,
Tongchai Winichakul..............................................91
3-7 A Tibet Mandala Diagram, date unknown,
the author.......................................................92
3-8 A Chinese Yin and Yang Octagon Diagram, date unknown,
the author.......................................................92
3-9 Phra Nakhorn Khiri Palace, Petchburi, 1858
the Association of Siamese Architects............................92
3-10 Naga on a Column, Thailand, 18th-19th century,
Clarence Aasen...................................................94
3-11 Garuda, Thailand,
the author.......................................................94
3-12 Naga and Garuda in a Pediment, Thailand, 18th-19th century,
Clarence Aasen...................................................94
3-13 The Torana Gateway at the Stupa at Sanchi, Sanchi,
India, 3rd BC-lst AD, Roy Craven.................................95
xiii


3-14 A Pair of Guardian Lions in front of the Kings Entrance,
Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall,
Bangkok, 1876, Naengnoi Suksri..................................95
3-15 A Pair of Guardian Lions at Wat Poh, Bangkok, 1781
Tourism Authority of Thailand....................................95
3-16 Thewarat Khanlai Gate, Bang Pa-In Palace, Ayutthaya,
ca. 1880s, Clarence Aasen.......................................112
3-17 Ho Withun Thasana, Bang Pa-In Palace, Ayutthaya,
ca. 1880s, Clarence Aasen.......................................112
3-18 Gioachino Grassi, Wat Niwet Thamprawat, Bang Pa-In Palace,
Ayutthaya, ca. 1880s, Clarence Aasen............................112
3-19 Dusitthanee, Bangkok, ca. 1920s,
Poosadee Tiptas.................................................115
3-20 Annibale Rigotti, Banthomsindhu Residence,
Bangkok, ca. 1910s, Poosadee Tiptas.............................115
3-21 Edward Healey, Manangkasila Residence,
Bangkok, ca. 1910s, Poosadee Tiptas.............................115
3-22 Dan Wongprasat, Ocean Insurance Building, Bangkok, 1970,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center.............................121
3-23 Ongart Satrabhan, Building no. 9 at Phanabhan High School,
Bangkok, 1970, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center..............121
3-24 Sumet Jumsai, Bangkok School for the Blind, Bangkok, 1971,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center.............................121
3-25 Design 103 Limited, Thai Military Bank, Sanampao Branch,
Bangkok, 1975, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center..............121
3-26 Rangsan Torsuwan, Erawan Hotel, Bangkok, ca. 1990,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center.............................123
3-27 Rangsan Torsuwan, Amarin Plaza, Bangkok, 1985,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center.............................127
3-28 Ongart Satrabhan, Charimart Apartment, Bangkok, 1986,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center.............................123
3-29 The Massacre of students at Thammasat University on Oct. 6,1976
Bangkok, Bangkok Post........................................... 124
3-30 A student with a stick challenges a soldier with a rifle to fight with
him on Oct. 14, 1973, Bangkok Post..............................124
3- 31 Soldiers prepare to fire at demonstrators who protest for democracy
on May 17-18,1992, Bangkok Post.................................124
4- 1 A Missionary Style House near Magua Rice Mill, Bangkok,
early 19th Century, Poosadee Tiptas.............................144
XIV


4-2 A Bungalow or Carolinian Style Building,
Assumption School, Bangkok, ca. 1830s, Poosadee Tiptas............144
4-3 Karl Dohring, Rama Rajanivet Palace,
Petchburi, ca. 1913, Poosadee Tiptas..............................146
4-4 E. Manfredi, Maruekkatayawan Palace,
Petchburi, ca. 1910s, Poosadee Tiptas.............................146
4-5 Ittithepsant Krisdakom, Sanam Chan Palace, Nakompathom,
ca. 1910s, Poosadee Tiptas........................................146
4-6 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok, Ground Floor Plan
displaying the main three structural components, 1882 edition,
the Bureau of Royal Household, with notations by the author.......153
4-7 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
Ground Floor plan, 1932 edition,
the Royal Bureau of Household, with notations by the author.......153
4-8 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
Ground Floor Plan, 1982-Present Edition,
the Bureau of Royal Household, with notations by the author.......154
4-9 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat,
Bangkok, entrance stairs, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri....................155
4-10 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat,
Bangkok, entrance gate, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri......................155
4-11 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
the kings private room, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri.....................155
4-12 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
the queens private room, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri....................155
4-13 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
the throne room, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri.............................156
4-14 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
the throne, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri..................................156
4-15 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
the kings entrance, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri.........................156
4-16 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
Geometrical Analysis, 1876 Naengnoi Suksri,
with notation by the author.......................................157
4-17 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
Geometrical Analysis, 1876, Naengnoi Suksri
with notation from the author.....................................157
4-18 A. F. Kokoronov and J.B.M. Vallin de la Mothe,
the Academy of Fine Arts at Leningrad,
St. Petersburg, Russia, 1765, Banister Fletcher...................158
XV


4-19 Francois Mansard, Chateau de Matsons,
Paris, France, 1642, Leland Roth................................158
4-20 Giulio Romano, Palazzo Pompei, Verona, Italy,
ca. 1550, Banister Fletcher.....................................159
4-21 Andrea Palladio, facade Design from Book II,
Chapter III, Plate V, 1715.......................................159
4-22 Inigo Jones, the Banqueting Hall,
the Palace at the Whitehall, London, England, Leland Roth.......159
4-23 Leon Battista Alberti, Palazzo Rucellai, Florence, Italy,
ca. 1452, Leland Roth............................................159
4-24 A Roman apartment at Ostisa, 1-2 Century A.D., Italy,
Leland Roth......................................................159
4-25 John Balthasar Neumann, Prince-Bishops Palace,
Wurzburg, Germany, 1737, Leland Roth.............................160
4-26 John Balthasar Neumann, Veerzehnheiligen,
Franconia, Germany, 1742, Leland Roth............................160
4-27 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
the royal quarter, 1876, Naengnoi Suksri.... ..................160
4-28 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
the royal quarter, 1876, Naengnoi Suksri.........................160
4-29 Germain Bouffrand, Salon de Princess,
Hotel de Soubise, Paris, France, 1732, Leland Roth..............160
4-30 Francois Cuvillies, Amalienburg Pavilion, Ntmphenburg Palace,
Munich, Germany, 1734, Leland Roth...............................160
4-31 The Concordia Hall, Grand Palace, Bangkok, 1868-1910
Naengnoi Suksri..................................................162
4-32 The Royal Mint, Grand Palace, Bangkok, 1868-1910
Naengnoi Suksri..................................................162
4-33 The Bureau of the Royal Household, Grand Palace,
Bangkok, 1868-1910, Naengnoi Suksri..............................162
4-34 Queen Sawang Wattanas Mansion, Grand Palace,
Bangkok, 1868-1910, Naengnoi Suksri..............................162
4-35 Queen Consort Dara Rasmi's Mansion, Grand Palace,
Bangkok, 1868-1910, Naengnoi Suksri..............................162
4-36 Princess Sudaratana Ratchaprayun s Mansion,
Grand Palace, Bangkok, 1868-1910, Naengnoi Suksri................162
4-37 Royal Concubines Mansion, Grand Palace,
Bangkok, 1868-1910, Naengnoi Suksri..............................162
4-38 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence,
Bangkok, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household.....................162
XVI


4-39 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence,
Bangkok, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household...................162
4-40 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence, Bangkok,
the grand staircase 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household........163
4-41 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence, Bangkok,
the south annex, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household...........163
4-42 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence,
Bangkok, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household...................163
4-43 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence,
Bangkok, skylight, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household.........164
4-44 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence,
Bangkok, windows, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household..........164
4-45 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence, Bangkok,
ceiling painting, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household..........164
4-46 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence, Bangkok,
bedchamber, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household................164
4-47 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence, Bangkok,
Italian garden sculpture, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household..164
4-48 C. Sandreczki, Borommabhiman Royal Residence, Bangkok,
reception and living area, 1897, the Bureau of Royal Household.164
4-49 C. Sandreczki, Amphornsathan Royal Residence, Bangkok, 1890,
Naengnoi Suksri..............................................167
4-50 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall,
Bangkok, 1907, the Bureau of Royal Household...................167
4-51 Filippo Juvarra, Basilica di superga,
Turin, Piedmont, Italy, 1731, Basilica di Superga..............167
4-52 Gianlorenzo Bernini, Saint Peters Cathedral, Rome, Italy, 1656,
the Library of the Vatican...................................167
4-53 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
plan, 1907, the Bureau of Royal Household......................168
4-54 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
west gate, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri.............................169
4-55 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall,
Bangkok, sculpture, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri....................169
4-56 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
the spiral stairway, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...................169
4-57 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
the interior of the main dome, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...........169
4-58 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall,
Bangkok, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...............................169
xvii


4-59 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
structural detail, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri........................169
4-60 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
mural painting, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...........................169
4-61 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
mural painting, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...........................169
4-62 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
mural painting, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...........................170
4-63 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
mural painting, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...........................170
4-64 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
the throne, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...............................170
4-65 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
golden curtain, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri...........................170
4-66 Postage stamp, 1935,
the Telecommunication Authority of Thailand.....................171
4-67 Postage stamp, 1969,
the Telecommunication Authority of Thailand.....................171
4-68 Postage stamp, 1990,
the Telecommunication Authority of Thailand.....................171
4-69 One Baht Bill, 1939
the Bank of Thailand............................................171
4-70 Fifty Baht Bill, 1982,
the Bank of Thailand........................................... 171
4-71 Telephone card, 1996,
the Telecommunication Authority of Thailand.....................171
4-72 Phanbipob Liela Bridge, Bangkok, ca. 1900s
the Bureau of Royal Household...................................172
4-73 Phanfah Lielas Bridge, Bangkok, ca. 1900s
the Bureau of Royal Household...................................172
4-74 Makawan Rangsant Bridge, Bangkok, ca. 1900s
the Bureau of Royal Household...................................172
4-75 Rajadamnem Klang Avenue, Bangkok, ca. 1980s,
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.............................174
4-76 The Royal Plaza, Bangkok, ca. 1980s,
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.............................174
4-77 The Royal Field, Bangkok, ca. 1980s,
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.............................174
4-78 Jitrsean Apaiwong and Corrado Feroci, Democracy Monument,
Bangkok, ca. 1940, the Siamese Association of Architects........174
xviii


4-79 Jitrsean Apaiwong, Rajadamnern Building Group, Bangkok,
ca. 1940s, the Siamese Association of Architects.................174
4-80 Jitrsean Apaiwong, Chalermthai Theater, Bangkok, ca. 1941,
the Siamese Association of Architects............................175
4-81 Phra Sarojratnimman, the Supreme Court, Bangkok, ca. 1941,
the Siamese Association of Architects............................175
4-82 1973 street fighting at Rajadamnern Avenue,
Bangkok Post....................................................175
4- 83 King Rama Ys motorcade along Rajadamnern Avenue,
early 20th century, the Bureau of Royal Household................175
5- 1 Reconstruction Rendering of the Sampet Prasat Throne Hall,
Ayutthaya, 16th century, Muang Boran.............................201
5-2 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
pediment, 1876, Naengnoi Suksri;.................................201
5-3 John Clunich, Chakri Maha Prasat, Bangkok,
pediment, 1876, Naengnoi Suksri..................................201
5-4 A composite drawing of a European lady dressing in Victorian
costume and wearing a traditional Thai crown, the author........204
5-5 The Officers Quarters, Grand Palace,
Bangkok, ca. 1880s, Naengnoi Suksri.............................209
5-6 The Officers Quarters, Grand Palace, Bangkok,
ca. 1990s, Naengnoi Suksri.......................................209
5-7 Samakkhimukmat Building, Sanam Chan Palace, Nakompathom,
1910-1925, Naengnoi Suksri.................................... 212
5-8 Watchariromaya Building, Sanam Chan Palace, Nakompathom,
1910-1925, Naengnoi Suksri......................................212
5-9 Praya Jindarungsant and Luang Wisansilpakam,
Vajiravudh Collage, Bangkok, dormitory, ca. 1910s,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................212
5-10 Praya Jindarungsant and Luang Wisansilpakam,
Vajiravudh Collage, Bangkok, dormitory, ca. 1910s,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................212
5-11 Praya Jindarungsant and Luang Wisansilpakam,
Vajiravudh Collage, Bangkok, auditorium, ca. 1910s,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................212
5-12 Praya Jindarungsant and Luang Wisansilpakam,
Vajiravudh Collage, study hall, ca. 1910s,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................212
5-13 Edward Healey, Faculty of Liberal arts,
Chulalongkom University, ca. 1910s,
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................213
XIX


5-14 Edward Healey, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkom University,
Bangkok, ca. 1910s, the Association of Siamese Architects..........213
5-15 Luang Wisansilpakam, Chakrapong Building,
Chulalongkom University, Bangkok, ca. 1910s,
the Association of Siamese Architects..............................213
5-16 The Ubosoth at Wat Rajabopit, Bangkok, plan, 1868-1910,
Naengnoi Suksri....................................................214
5-17 The Ubosoth at Wat Rajabopit, Bangkok, interior, 1868-1910,
Naengnoi Suksri.................................................214
5-18 The Ubosoth at Wat Rajabopit, Bangkok, front fagade, 1868-1910,
Naengnoi Suksri.................................................214
5-19 Wat Debsirintravas, Bangkok, front fagade, 1868-1910,
Naengnoi Suksri.................................................215
5-20 The Ubosoth at Wat Debsirintravas, Bangkok, 1868-1910,
Naengnoi Suksri.................................................215
5-21 Iktinos and Kallikrates, Parthenon, Athens, Greece, 5th century AD,
Tourism Authority of Greece.....................................215
5-22 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, Benjamabopit Temple,
Replica of Phra Buddha Shinaraja, Bangkok, 1901,
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................216
5-23 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, Benjamabopit Temple,
Bangkok, plan, 1901, the Association of Siamese Architects......216
5-24 Phra Phrombichit, the Ubosoth at Wat Phra Srimahatat,
Bangkok, ca. 1920s, the Association of Siamese Architects.......216
5-25 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, Benjamabopit Temple,
Bangkok, 1901, front fagade, the Association of Siamese Architects.217
5-26 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, Benjamabopit Temple, Bangkok,
elevations, 1901, Clarebce Aasen................................217
5-27 E. Manfredi, Phra Thinang Samutphiman,
Maruekkatayawan Palace, Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri........219
5-28 E. Manfredi, Phra Thinang Phisansakho,
Maruekkatayawan Palace, Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri........219
5-29 E. Manfredi, Phra Thinang Samosornsewakamat,
Maruekkatayawan Palace, Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri........219
5-30 E. Manfredi, Maruekkatayawan Palace, Beach Pavillion,
Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri................................219
5-31 E. Manfredi, Maruekkatayawan Palace, covered walkway,
Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri................................219
5-32 E. Manfredi, Maruekkatayawan Palace, interior,
Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri................................219
XX


5-33 E. Manfredi, Maruekkatayawan Palace, columns,
Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri................................220
5-34 King Rama VI and his courtiers at Maruekkatayawan
Palace, 1924, the Bureau of Royal Household.....................220
5-35 Ruan Ton, Dusit Palace, ca. 1904,
Bangkok, Naengnoi Suksri........................................220
5-36 A drawing of a traditional Thai house showing elevations,
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................220
5-37 E. Manfredi, Maruekkatayawan Palace, the kings quarter,
Petchburi, 1924, Naengnoi Suksri................................221
5-38 A geometrical analysis of the elevations of the Beach Pavilion
at Maruekkatayawan Palace, the author............................ ..221
5-39 A geometrical analysis of the elevations of the Beach Pavilion
at Maruekkatayawan Palace, the author...........................221
5-40 Ruan Ton, Dusit Palace, Bangkok,
ca. 1904, Naengnoi Suksri.......................................222
5-41 Ruan Tub Khwan, ca. 1915, Sanam Chan Palace,
Nakompathom, Naengnoi Suksri....................................222
5-42 The Temple of the Metal Palace (Wat Rajanatda),
Bangkok, 1864, Tourist Authority of Thailand....................224
5-43 The Temple of the Metal Palace (Wat Rajanatda),
Bangkok, 1864, Tourist Authority of Thailand....................224
5-44 Uthayan Phumisathian Mansion, Bang Pa-In, Ayutthaya,
ca. 1880s, the Bureau of Royal Household........................226
5-45 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
dome ceiling, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri........................... 228
5-46 Annibale Rigotti, Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
dome ceiling, 1907, Naengnoi Suksri.............................228
5-47 Gioachino Grassi, WatNiwet Thamprawat, Bang Pa-In, Ayutthaya,
ca. 1880s, interior, the Bureau of Royal Household..............228
5- 48 Mannareaumitr Building, Debsirintravas Temple, Bangkok,
ca. 1880s, Naengnoi Suksri......................................228
6- 1 A gateway at an army camp,
Nakhon Si Thammarat, ca. 1910s, Clarence Aasen..................243
6-2 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, Wachirayan Library, Bangkok,
1916, the Association of Siamese Architects.....................243
6-3 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, the ubosoth at Rajathivas Temple,
Bangkok, ca. 1910s
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................243
xxi


6-4 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, the hall at Rajathivas Temple,
Bangkok, ca. 1910s
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................243
6-5 Corrado Feroci, the Monument of King Rama I, Bangkok,
ca. 1930, the Association of Siamese Architects...................249
6-6 Krisdakom Ittithepsant, Klai Kung Woan Palace,
Petchburi, 1930s, the Association of Siamese Architects...........249
6-7 Phra Phrombichit, main auditorium, Chulalongkom University,
Bangkok, 1930s, the Association of Siamese Architects.............249
6-8 Phra Putthayodfa Bridge, Bangkok, ca. 1930,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................250
6-9 Krisdakom Ittithepsant, Klai Kung Woan Palace, courtyard,
Petchburi, 1930s, the Association of Siamese Archit...............250
6-10 Konstantine Melnikov, The USSR Pavilion at
Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France, 1925,
Frederick Starr....................................................256
6-11 A and V Vesnin, Pravda Building, Moscow, USSR, 1923,
Catherine Cooke....................................................256
6-12 Giuseppe Terragni, Casa del Fascio,
Como, Italy, 1932-36, Architettura Arnica..........................256
6-13 Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto la Padula, and Mario Romano,
Palazzo della Civilita, Rome, Italy, 1937-42,
Architettura Arnica............................................. 256
6-14 Jitrsean Apaiwong and Corrado Feroci, Democracy Monument,
Bangkok, 1939, Tourism Authority of Thailand.......................258
6-15 Jitrsean Apaiwong and Corrado Feroci, Democracy Monument,
Bangkok, 1939, Tourism Authority of Thailand.......................258
6-16 Pum Malakul, Victory Monument, Bangkok, 1941,
the author.........................................................262
6-17 Pum Malakul, Victory Monument, Bangkok, 1941,
the author....................................................... 262
6-18 King Rama VIIs Statue in front of the House of Parliament,
ca. 1980s, the Library of the Parliament...........................268
6-19 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament.......................268
6-20 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
facade details, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament......268
6-21 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
fa9ade details, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament......268
xxii


6-22 Le Corbusier with Jeanneret, Drew and Fry,
the Assembly Building at Chandigarh Capitol,
Punjab, India, 1957-1965, the State of Punjab....................268
6-23 Le Corbusier with Jeanneret, Drew and Fry,
the Assembly Building at Chandigarh Capitol,
Punjab, India, 1957-1965, the State of Punjab....................268
6-24 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
ceiling of the assembly hall, Bangkok, 1973,
the Library of the Parliament....................................268
6-25 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
interior, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament...........268
6-26 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
interior, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament...........268
6-27 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
plan, Bangkok, 1973, the author..................................269
6-28 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
vehicle ramp, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament.......270
6-29 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
bas-relief, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament.........270
6-30 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
ceramic mural, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament......271
6-31 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
ceramic mural, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament......271
6-32 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
ceramic mural, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament......271
6-33 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
ceramic mural, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament......271
6-34 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
painting, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament...........272
6-35 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
sculpture, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament..........272
6-36 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
sculpture, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament..........272
6-37 The Department of Public Works, the National Assembly,
sculpture, Bangkok, 1973, the Library of the Parliament..........272
6-38 The Ministry of Educational Affairs, October 14, 1973 Memorial,
model, Bangkok, 2001, Bangkok Post...............................282
6-39 The Ministry of Educational Affairs, October 14, 1973 Memorial,
Bangkok, 2002, the author........................................282
6-40 The Ministry of Educational Affairs, October 14, 1973 Memorial,
Bangkok, 2002, the author........................................282
xxiii


311
311
311
.312
.312
.312
.312
.313
.313
.313
.318
.318
,318
.350
.350
Kume Architects-Engineers, the Nation Cultural Center, 1987,
Bangkok, the Association of Siamese Architects.............
Thai Group Consultant, Ayutthaya Historical Society,
Ayutthaya, 1990, the Association of Siamese Architects.....
Thai Group Consultant, Ayutthaya Historical Society,
Ayutthaya, plan, 1990, the Association of Siamese Architects.
MJTA, the Passenger Terminal at Suvarnabhumi
International Airport, Bangkok, 2003, section,
Banchom Chavalnsipla.......................................
MJTA, the Passenger Terminal at Suvarnabhumi
International Airport, Bangkok, 2003, section,
Banchom Chavalnsipla.......................................
MJTA, the Passenger Terminal at Suvarnabhumi
International Airport, Bangkok, 2003, aerial view,
Banchom Chavalnsipla.......................................
MJTA, the Passenger Terminal at Suvarnabhumi
International Airport, Bangkok, 2003, aerial view,
Banchom Chavalnsipla.......................................
MJTA, the Passenger Terminal at Suvarnabhumi
International Airport, Bangkok, 2003,
section of the passenger concourse, Banchom Chavalnsipla...
MJTA, the Passenger Terminal at Suvarnabhumi
International Airport, Bangkok, 2003, plan,
Banchom Chavalnsipla.......................................
MJTA, the Passenger Terminal at Suvarnabhumi
International Airport, Bangkok, 2003, plan,
Banchom Chavalnsipla.......................................
A caricature of the Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai
at Wat Indravas, Bangkok, ca. 1990s,
the Association of Siamese Architects......................
The gallery of Garudas at the temple of the Emerald Buddha,
Grand Palace, Bangkok, 1782,
the Association of Siamese Architects......................
A Garudas at the temple of the Emerald Buddha,
Grand Palace, Bangkok, 1782,
the Association of Siamese Architects......................
Joachim Grassi, the Ministry of Defense, Bangkok,
1881, Poosadee Tiptas......................................
Joachim Grassi, the Bureau of Custom, Bangkok,
1868-1910, Poosadee Tiptas.................................
XXIV


C-3 Joachim Grassi, St. Joseph Church, Ayutthaya, 1868-1910
Poosadee Tiptas................................................350
C-4 Mario Tamagno, Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, 1868-1910
Poosadee Tiptas................................................350
C-5 Mario Tamagno, Neilson Hays Library, Bangkok,
1869-1910, Poosadee Tiptas......................................350
C-6 Karl Dohring, Bangkhunprom Palace, Bangkok,
1901, Poosadee Tiptas...........................................350
C-7 Edward Healey, the Siam Society, Bangkok,
1910-1925, Poosadee Tiptas......................................353
C-8 Fausto Pistono, Chulalongkorn Hospital, Bangkok,
1910-1925, Poosadee Tiptas......................................353
C-9 Charles Beguelin, the Bureau of Public Works, Bangkok,
1910-1925, Poosadee Tiptas......................................353
C-10 Charles Beguelin, Prince Chainart Narenthorn and
Princess Yaowapasanits Palaces, Bangkok, 1910-1925
Poosadee Tiptas.................................................353
C-l 1 A. Rigazzi, the State Railway Hotel,
Huahin, Petchburi, 1910-1925, Poosadee Tiptas...................353
C-l 2 E. Manfredy, Ravithee School of Nursing, Bangkok,
1925-1935, Poosadee Tiptas......................................354
C-l3 E. Manfredy, Asawin Palace, Bangkok,
1925-1935 Poosadee Tiptas.......................................354
C-14 E. Manfredy, Manfredy Residence,Bangkok,
1925-1935, Poosadee Tiptas..................................... 354
D-l Colonial-Style row houses, Bangkok,
ca. 1830s, Poosadee Tiptas......................................356
D-2 Sino-Portuguese Style row houses, Bangkok, ca. 1800s
Poosadee Tiptas.................................................356
D-3 Santa Cruz Church, Bangkok, ca. 1800s
Poosadee Tiptas.................................................356
D-4 Officers Quarter, Grand Palace, Bangkok, ca. 1880s
Naengnoi Suksri.................................................356
D-5 Annibale Rigotti and Mario Tamagno,
Nongkran Samosom Clubhouse, Bangkok, 1911
Naengnoi Suksri.................................................357
D-6 Annibale Rigotti, Apisek Dusit Throne Hall,
Bangkok, c. 1880s, Naengnoi Suksri..............................357
D-7 Annibale Rigotti and Mario Tamagno,
Devaraj Sapharom Throne Hall, Bangkok,
ca. 1910s, Poosadee Tiptas......................................357
XXV


D-8 Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, Vimanmek Royal Mansion, Bangkok,
ca. 1900s, Poosadee Tiptas.................................... 357
D-9 Carlo Allegri, the Department of Army Reserve, Bangkok,
1923 Poosadee Tiptas.......................................... 357
D-10 Mario Tamagno, Siam Commercial Bank, Bangkok,
1880, Poosadee Tiptas...........................................357
D-l 1 Sunanthalai Royal Residence, Bangkok, ca. 1890s,
Poosadee Tiptas.................................................357
D-l2 Waropasbhiman Throne Hall at Bang Pa-In Palace, Ayutthaya,
ca. 1880s, Poosadee Tiptas......................................359
D-l3 Karl Dohring, Bangkhumprom Palace, Bangkok,
ca. 1890s, Poosadee Tiptas......................................359
D-l4 Suan Kularb High School, Bangkok, ca. 1900s,
Poosadee Tiptas.................................................359
D-l5 Karl Dohring, Woradis Palace, Bangkok,
ca. 1900s, Poosadee Tiptas......................................359
D-l6 Annibale Rigotti, Paraus Sakawan Palace, Bangkok,
1906, Poosadee Tiptas...........................................359
D-17 Charles Beguelin, Witthayu Palace, Bangkok,
ca. 1900s, Poosadee Tiptas....................................359
D-l8 Carlo Allegri, Suan Kularb Palace, Bangkok, ca. 1900s,
Poosadee Tiptas.................................................359
E-l E. Manfredy, School of Dentistry Science,
Chulalongkom University, Bangkok, 1939,
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................362
E-2 E. Manfredy, Trium Udom Suksa High School,
Bangkok, 1934, the Association of Siamese Architects............362
E-3 Jitrsean Apaiwong, Songkla Provincial Courthouse,
Songkla, 1939, the Association of Siamese Architects...........362
E-4 Jitrsean Apaiwong, the National Staduim, Bangkok, 1936,
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................362
E-5 Christainie and Neilsen, Ratanakosin Hotel, Bangkok, 1942,
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................362
E-6 Jitrsean Apaiwong, the Dome Building, Thammasat University,
Bangkok, 1938, the Association of Siamese Architects...........362
E-7 Samaichalerm Krisdakom, Damrongrajanubhab Library,
Bangkok, 1937, the Association of Siamese Architects............362
E-8 The Department of Civil Engineering, Ministry of Agriculture,
Bangkok, 1946, the Association of Siamese Architects...........364
E-9 The Department of Public Works, Juvenile Court, Bangkok, 1951,
the Association of Siamese Architects...........................364
XXVI


E-l 0 The Department of Civil Engineering, Womens Hospital,
Bangkok, 1948, the Association of Siamese Architects.............364
E-l 1 Woatyakom Worawan, Chaochom Domitory,
Chulalongkom University, Bangkok, 1948,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................364
E-l2 Rangsan Torsuwan, Choakchai International Building,
Bangkok, 1969, the Association of Siamese Architects.............367
E-l3 Jane Sakonthanarak, Mandarin Hotel, Bangkok, 1969,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................367
E-14 Krisda Aranwong na Ayutthayya, School of Medical Science,
Mahidol University, Bangkok, 1970,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................367
E-l5 Chultas Kitiputra, Chiang Inn Hotel, Chiang Mai, 1968,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................367
E-16 The Department of Civil Engineering,
72nd Year Anniversary Building, Siriraj Hospital,
Bangkok, 1968, the Association of Siamese Architects.............367
E-17 Intarain, Esso Building, Bangkok, 1973,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................367
E-18 The Department of Civil Engineering,
the Prime Ministers Headquarters, Bangkok, 1964,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................367
E-l9 Duang, Taweesak, Chaiya and Associates,
the Chiang Mai Branch of the Bank of Thailand,
Chiang Mai, 1969, the Association of Siamese Architects..........368
E-20 Duang, Taweesak, Chaiya and Associates,
the Chiang Mai Branch of Nakornluang Thai Bank,
Chiang Mai, 1968, the Association of Siamese Architects..........368
E-21 Seminar Hall, Rajasima Technical School,
Nakom Rajasima, 1960, the Association of Siamese Architects......368
E-22 Louis Burger, Huamak Stadium, Bangkok, 1966,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................368
E-23 Casa, Conference Hall, Suan Amphom, Bangkok, 1972,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................368
E-24 Rangsan Torsuwan, School of Veterinary Science,
Chulalongkom University, Bangkok, 1972,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................369
E-25 Sittichai Chayasombat and Kriangsak Jaranyanon,
Ministry of Public Health, Bangkok, 1971,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................369
xxvii


E-26 Rangsan and Associates, Mazda Headquarters,
Bangkok, 1972, the Association of Siamese Architects..............369
E-27 Chalerm Rattanatassanee, School of Commerce and Accounting,
Chulalongkom University, Bangkok, 1960,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................369
E-28 The Department of Civil Engineering, main auditorium,
Songkla Nakarin University, Pattani, 1966,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................369
E-29 The Department of Civil Engineering, Government Headquarters,
Khonkan, 1962, the Association of Siamese Architects..............370
E-30 Pinyo Suwankiri, Udombuddhasat Building,
Monks College at Chittapawan, Chonburi, 1969,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................370
E-31 The Department of Fine Arts, the National Library,
Bangkok, 1966, the Association of Siamese Architects..............370
E-32 The Department of Fine Arts, the National Museum,
Nakhon Si Thammarat, 1970,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................370
E-33 Keit Jiwakul, Bangkok Bank Hualampong Branch,
Bangkok, 1971, the Association of Siamese Architects..............371
E-34 Amom Sriwong and Rachok Kanchanawanich,
School of Engineering, Songkla Nakarin University, Hat Yai,
Songkkla, 1966, the Association of Siamese Architects.............371
E-3 5 The Department of Civil Engineering,
standard designs for government officials residences, ca. 1970s,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................372
E-3 6 Rangsansatapat, Thai Farmer Bank Headquarters,
Bangkok, 1982, the Association of Siamese Architects..............374
E-37 Duang, Taweesak, Chaiya and Associates,
Thai Commercial Bank Headquarters, Bangkok, 1982,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................374
E-38 Design 103 Limited, Bank of Thailand Headquarters,
Bangkok, 1983, the Association of Siamese Architects..............374
E-39 A.E.P. Architects, Administrative Center, Thammasat University,
Bangkok, 1980, the Association of Siamese Architects..............374
E-40 The Ministry of Public Health, Maharaj Hospital,
Nakhon Si Thammarat, 1982,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................374
E-41 The Department of Public Works, ESCAP Office,
Bangkok, 1975, the Association of Siamese Architects..............376
xxviii


E-42 The Department of Public Works, Puket Aquarium,
Puket,1975, the Association of Siamese Architects................376
E-43 Architects 110, Veterans Hospital, Bangkok, 1980,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................376
E-44 Sumet Jumsai, Science Museum, Bangkok, 1980,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................376
E-45 Rifenberg and Rirkrit Architects, Fedders Building,
Bangkok, 1978, the Association of Siamese Architects.............376
E-46 Dan Wongprasan, CMIC Building, Bangkok, 1981,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................377
E-47 Design 103 Limited, Singha Beer Arcade, Bangkok, 1981,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................377
E-48 Wiwat Hemasilapin, Rasada Shopping Mall, Puket, 1982,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................377
E-49 The Department of Fine Arts, the National Museum,
Chiang Mai, 1973, the Association of Siamese Architects..........377
E-50 The Department of Fine Arts, the Ubosoth at Buddhamonton,
Nakompathom, 1981, the Association of Siamese Architects.........377
E-51 The Department of Fine Arts,
the Patriarchs Residence at Buddhamonton,
Nakompathom, 1981, the Association of Siamese Architects.........377
E-52 Wirot Srisuroe, the Ubosoth at Salaloi Temple,
Nakom Rajasima, 1973, the Association of Siamese Architects......378
E-53 Sumet Jumsai, Nampong Branch Bank of Asia,
Khonkan, 1979, the Association of Siamese Architects.............378
E-54 The Department of Public Works, ESCAP Auditorium,
Bangkok, 1975, the Association of Siamese Architects.............378
E-55 Siri Sukawanli, the Ubosoth atDharmakai Temple,
Pathumthani, 1982, the Association of Siamese Architects.........378
F-l Three Architects and Four Aces,
Peninsular Plaza Shopping Arcade, Bangkok, 1985,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center..............................380
F-2 Land and House, Siwalee Housing Project, Bangkok, 1982,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................380
F-3 Land and House, Sinklao Housing Project, Bangkok, 1985,
the Association of Siamese Architects............................380
F-4 Nonda Buranasomphob, Imperial Samui Hotel, Samui Island,
Saratthani, 1987, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center............380
F-5 Rifenberg and RirkritBangphra, International Golf Club,
Chonburi, 1987, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center..............380
XXIX


F-6 Ong Ard Architects, Toshiba (Thailand) Headquarters,
Bangkok, 1986, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center................381
F-7 Thai Group Consultant, the Department of Military Energy,
Bangkok, 1988, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center................381
F-8 Ong Ard Architects, Gymnasium, Phanabhan Fligh School,
Bangkok, 1988, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center................381
F-9 Sirin Architects, Little Duck Hotel, Chiangrai, 1989,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center...............................381
F-10 Plan Architects, Thaniya Plaza Building, Bangkok, 1991,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center...............................381
F-l 1 Plan, Four Aces, and Inter Architects, Witthayatas Building,
Sukhothai Dhammadiraj University, Pathumthani, 1989,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................382
F-12 First Floor Architect, Thai Pavillion at 1992 Expo,
Seville, Spain, 1992, the Association of Siamese Architects.......382
F-l3 Sumet Jmsai, ISB International School, Bangkok, 1992,
the Association of Siamese Architects.............................382
F-l4 Design 103 Limited, Sirikit National Conference Center,
Bangkok, 1991, the Association of Siamese Architects..............382
F-l 5 Udom Sakulpanit, the National Museum, Puketl 986,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center...............................383
F-16 The Department of Fine Arts, the National Library,
Nakom Rajasima,1987, Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center..........383
F-17 Santisak Srisurin, Museum of the Relic of Monk Dulya,
Surin, 1984, the Association of Siamese Architects................383
F-l8 Design 103 Limited, Dusit Laguna Hotel, Puket, 1987,
Sang-Aroon, Art and Cultural Center...............................383
XXX


MAPS
1-1 The Objects of Studys Physical Locations along the
Rajadamnem Avenue, the author.....................................26
3-1 The Sea-trade Rout linking together China, Southeast Asia, and
India, Thongchai Winichakul with notations by the author..........91
3- 2 Siamese Territories in 1909,
the author.......................................................112
4- 1 Site Plan of the Grand Palace, 1982,
the Bureau of Royal Household with notations by the author........155
4-2 Layout of Dusit Palace, 1994,
Naengnoi Suksri................................................. 166
4- 3 The Rajadamnem Avenue and Old Town Bangkok,
the author.......................................................173
5- 1 Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, Ayutthaya, ca. 1880s,
the Bureau of Royal Household....................................226
6- 1 Site Plan of the National Assembly, the House of Parliament,
Bangkok, the Library of the Parliament...........................267
7- 1 A Location Map for the Site for the New House of Parliament,
Bangkok, the Nation, with notations by the author.................304
7-2 A Map Showing Potential Sites for the New House of Parliament
in Bangkok Metropolitan Area, the author.........................306
XXXI


DIAGRAMS
1-1 The Constituent Three Fields of Studies of the Dissertation,
the author...........................................................7
1 -2 The Methodological Design of the Dissertation,
the author..........................................................19
1-3 Westemization/Modemization and Siamization Processes,
the author...........................................;...........24-25
1- 4 The Processes of Westemization/Modemization and Siamization
in the Physical Reality, the author.................................27
2- 1 Gayatri Spivaks Dynamic Stratification Grid describing
Colonial Production, Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths,
and Helen Tiffin....................................................54
3- 1 The Cosmographical Interpretation of the Grand Palace
in Bangkok based on the Sacred Geometry of
a Mandala Diagram, the author.......................................93
3- 2 The Directional Deities or the Guardians of Space,
Clarence Aasen......................................................94
4- 1 A Geometrical Analysis of Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall,
the author....................................................... 168
5- 1 The Hierarchy of Intensity anti-Western colonialism for
the message of produced by the six approaches, the author........200
5-2 The Positive and Negative Identifications of
Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, the author.........................208
7-1 A Map Showing Potential Sites for the New House of Parliament
in Bangkok Metropolitan Area, the Association of Siamese Architects,
with notations by the author.......................................307
7-2 Chulalongkom and Silpakom Proposal for the Location and
Urban Design for the New House of Parliament in Relations
to Rajadamnem Avenue and Existing Buildings,
the Association of Siamese Architects,
with notations by the author.......................................307
7-3 Extension of Rajadamnem Avenue,the New House of Parliament,
and the Urban Development of Bangkok according to the Studies
done by Chulalongkom and Silpakom Universities,
the Association of Siamese Architects..............................308
xxxii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
We will be modern but we wont be you.
1
Subject of Inquiry
This dissertation studies the transformation process of Siam, presently known as
Thailand, toward Modernity through architecture.2 Its investigation originates
from the premise that Modernity is a creation of the West. In a non-Western
context, it normally reflects a direct intervention of the Western powers by means
of colonization. However, Thai people have argued that they are an exception to
such an occurrence.
In conjunction with Western colonial and the Siameses anti-colonial processes,
the domestic political circumstances in Siam played a crucial role in the countrys
path to Westernization and Modernization. The transformation process reached
the most significant milestone when the country replaced its ancient absolute
monarchial kingdom of Siam with a Modem democratic nation, known as
Thailand.
The shift toward Western culture and Modernity is evident in the production of
Thai cultural artifacts, notably its art and architecture throughout the 19th and 20th
centuries. Many of the best known works have been the results of hybrid designs
the syntheses between European and Siamese artistic styles, either in painting,
sculpture, costume, music, literature, performance art, cuisine, or architecture.
Examples of buildings are the Chakri Maha Prasat and the Anantha Samakhom
Throne Halls, the Old Supreme Court, the Bureau of Public Relations Old
Headquarters, and the National Assembly, the House of Parliament. These
structures hold more importance than simply evidence of stylistic changes; they
are, in essence, a manifestation of social, political, and cultural awareness, as well
as bearers of national identity.
1


Framework and Premises of Study
Explaining the shift toward Western culture and Modernity through the production
of Thai cultural artifacts, especially its architecture, entails seven critical accounts.
First, Westernization and Modernizationalthough relatedare different
phenomena, and do not necessarily occur at the same time. While the
Westernizing of Siamese architecture has existed since the 1850s, the Modernizing
processas in the aesthetic doctrine or the stylistic principles of Modernismdid
not become apparent until 1932 after the end of absolute monarchy.
Second, it is true that the word modem fundamentally means contemporary, up-
to-date, and by extension, novel, progressive, advanced, and therefore having
nothing to do with the world hegemony of the West since the 18th century.3 All
culturesregardless of their temporal organization, e.g., dynasties or capital cities
consider themselves as modem to distinguish their place in history from those that
came before. Correspondingly, modem, modernity and modernization, in general
sense, are not reserved for the Western culture. Instead, it could be argued that
modem, modernity and modernization are universal.
Nevertheless, the term Modem, with a capital M appearing throughout this
investigation has a different connotation. Manipulated by, or even conceived as,
Western imperial discourse, the pejorative Modem asserts the fictitious Western
superiority over the non-European world. Here, Modernity is synonymous with
Colonialism, Capitalism, Industrialism, Rationalism, Classism, Racism, Sexism,
Christianity and Democracy, under a protective umbrella of Europes progress in
science and technology since the 1700s. The term, too, serves as a political
strategy, implying a specific type of colonial administrative ideology and system:
nationalism, nationhood and nation-state. To further their political agenda,
colonial administrators, displaced, if not misplaced, the path of Modernization into
a subset of the Westernization process, and then propagandized it as a trademark
of Western civilization.
Western scholars of the late 20th century unveiled the myth of Europes Modernity.
Their exposes argue that the Europeans version of Modernity: a state of being
Modem, is a one-sided, over-optimistic, and self-congratulatory story, while
simultaneously being a discriminative, subservient, and sometimes downright
insulting account for other cultures that are not Western.4
This study refers to Westernization as the process of conversion or adoption of
Euro-centric traditions and forms of consciousness, such as customs, languages,
techniques, religion, belief, knowledge, technology, art, culture, economic, and
2


political systems. In parallel, this study alludes to Siamization as the process of
reviving customary Siamese traditions and forms of consciousness.
On that account, the term Modem architecture used here primarily refers to a
particular architectural movement originating in Europe during the late 19th and
the early 20th centuries. Within it lies the notion of Modernism, a collective
stylistic idea promoted by architects of the 1920s and 1930s such as Le Corbusier
or the Bauhaus, that become later known as the International Style in the U.S.A.
In parallel, Western architecture refers to a collection of historic architectural
styles, such as Greek, Roman, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism,
Baroque, Neo-classical, etc. that occurred before the rise of Modem architecture.
Third, although Siam aspired to assume the identity of a modernized state, a total
immersion into Western culture was undesirable. The country needed to
distinguish itself from its neighbors who had succumbed to the colonial fate of
becoming vassal territories for either the French or British Empires. For that
reason, the ruling elite embarked on the path of selective Modernization to prevent
a complete takeover by the West. They did so by constructing the myth of
Thainess according to three principles:
a. Under the surface of peaceful co-habitation between Buddhism and
Christianity, Buddhist clergy asserted intellectual superiority over their
Christian counterparts to preclude them from shaking the Siamese peoples
faith in ways that could cause a spiritual crisis and religious mass conversion.
b. In order to maintain absolute authority, the monarchy prohibited Western
political ideas, e.g., Democracy and Socialism from taking root. This was
difficult and impractical in reality. Hence, the mling elite had to accept these
political ideologies, but merely on a superficial level and used them for their
own ends. While pretending to create an open-minded society through public
education, the ruling elite vehemently rejected any kind of political
participation by the native population. Yet, this was an utter failure since it did
not prevent the coup detat of 1932 that ended the absolute monarchy regime.
c. Finally, the king, the symbol of the nation, sanctified by the clergy, must
exercise his power to show the hegemony of the indigenous over Western
culture. He must also defend Siamese tradition and advocate the production of
its cultural artifacts.
Fourth, Western cultural influences came to exist in Thailand mainly because of
politics. The Siamese ruling elite used Western architecture as a means to show
European powers that Siam was a civilized, progressive, and well-run country.
After the 1932 Revolution, the democratic government used Modem architecture
3


to represent the transformation of the ancient absolutist Kingdom of Siam into the
modem democratic nation of Thailand.
Fifth, the changes in Thai architecture, therefore, are a consequence of politics,
which occur simultaneously in two dimensions. Internationally, Westernizing
architecture counteracts the encroachment of the European powers through cultural
appropriation of the West. The existence of Western architecture in Siam thus
functions as a part of the anti-colonial discourse by exhibiting the identity to which
the nation aspires. This subversive strategy enables the Siamese ruling elite to
further their own political ends.
On the other hand, domestically, Modem architecture promotes a specific political
ideology: democracy. The rise of Modem architecture in Thailand symbolizes a
battle between two political ideologies. When the socialist and democratic-
oriented governments held the power, they frequently employed the so-called
International Style for government and civic buildings. In contrast, when the
military and nationalist governments ruled, the nationalistic expression, a hybrid
between traditional Thai architecture and Modernism usually became the
preference.
Sixth, the meanings associated with certain architectural styles have changed due
to the changes in historical circumstances. As was the case elsewhere, Siam, and
later Thailand, did not escape this. For instance, Thais used to view Neo-classical
architecture as an expression of the nations progress and prestige. After the 1932
Revolution, they considered it as a relic of Thailands ancien regime, signifying
that the monarchy and aristocrats were clinging to their dwindling political power.
More recently, the Neo-classical style has come to symbolize the new-money class
or the nouveau riche, who have the means but perhaps not the sophisticated taste
of old money.
Purpose of Investigation. Mode of Problematization
and Research Questions
A small number of scholars have researched Western architecture in Siam and the
rise of Modem architecture in Thailand. Few studies have gone beyond formal,
artistic, and stylistic interpretations. Most have investigated cultural artifacts with
reference to chronological accounts of events. They addressed questions such as
the what, which, when, where, who, by whom, and how in detail.
4


Those investigations present an in-depth documentation of events. However, the
knowledge gained was an inventory of facts and material conditions, concerned
with collecting data, assembling an investigation, and cataloguing information.5
A small number of inquiries have been in the area of Semiology: a study on
symbolic and monographic programs of buildings. Thus, the why questions,
such as how did Western and Modem architecture relate to 19th and 20th century
Thai society and culture; how and why did such a phenomenon occur; and how
and why did it evolve, remain unanswered.
In response to such problems, Power, Identity, and the Rise of Modern
Architecture: from Siam to Thailand, as explanatory and exploratory research in a
historical process, fills in this gap. Its principal objective is to study how and why
a Western conception like Modem architecture came to exist in a non-Westem
culture like Thailand without a direct physical colonization by the Western
powers. In doing so, it also reexamines and challenges the Siamese claim for their
success in resisting Western colonization, the classic assertion that Siam has
never been colonized by the West. For example, despite the absence of physical
or direct Western colonization, can it be argued that Siam indeed succumbed to
colonial indirect-rule politically and economically, or the so-called crypto-
colonial process?6 Due to the fact that Thai architecture since the 19th century has
appropriated Western influences, resulting in hybrid designs and extensive
importation of Western and Modem architecture to the country, does this mean
that Siam has been culturally and intellectually colonized? The research also
includes the questions below:
1. Why did the use of Modem architecture, especially for government and
civic buildings, occur after the change from the absolute monarchy of Siam
to the democratic nation of Thailand, and why not before?
2. What is the difference between Westernizing and Modernizing
architecture? How do the two interact concerning the transformation of
Siamese culture, especially with the issue of Colonial/Anti-colonial
discourse as well as national and cultural identity?
3. What are the political, economic, social and cultural factors that create the
architectural transformations of Westernization and Modernization? How
do each of these dimensions relate to the other? How does the architecture
relate to and respond to these factors, and why does it occur in a particular
way?
4. Why is a certain architectural style associated with a specific meaning, and
employed for a certain type of buildings? How was such a meaning
created? Why and how do the meanings and the use of styles evolve when
the contextual circumstances change?
5


5. What is the significance of Modem architecture in Thai society? If that of
today is different from the previous generations, what does it mean, and
how does the shift occur?
6. In maintaining independence from Western encroachment, does Thai
culturethe hybrid culture that is both eclectic and syncreticlose its
identity to Western influences? If not, how has Siam, and later Thailand,
appropriated those influences into its own cultural artifacts, especially
architecture, without losing its identity?
7. How and why does the idea of Modernism relate to the creation of a so-
called official culture for the nation of Thailand? How does it contribute
to the self-image of the country as a whole? What were the consequences
of the cultural transformationof which architecture is a partthat affected
the way of life of Thai people?
8. What were the results of the cultural transformations of Westernization and
Modernization, on Thai architecture in terms of its professional practice,
education and relationships to society?
Although involving formal and stylistic discourses, this dissertation does not
provide interpretations in terms of architectural movements. Instead, it seeks to
illustrate how various architectural ideas have contributed to the physical design
and spatial configuration of edifices in Siam and Thailand since the 1850s. In
order to establish insights for multi-cultural and cross-cultural studies, this
research investigates buildings for their social, political, economic and cultural
significance, and takes into consideration the issues of cultural borrowing,
appropriation, transformation, national and cultural identity, socio-political
authority, as well as Siamese resistance and reconciliation to the process of
colonization.
Conceptually, Power, Identity, and the Rise of Modem Architecture: from Siam to
Thailand relies on the discourse of Post-colonialism, using the concept of
hybridity in its framework for interpreting architectural meaning and
signification.7 In defining the concept of hybridity, one must look at the roots of
the term hybrid. Hybrid means an offspring of two different races, breeds,
varieties, species, or genera.8 Correspondingly, hybridity refers to interbreeding
categories, such as Cajun and Creole, while hybridization indicates a process of
making a hybrid.9
Based on the above biological model, this study uses the term to signify a cultural
artifact, whose background is a blend of two diverse cultures, traditions, or styles,
as something heterogeneous in origin or composition. Examples of architectural
hybrids are Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, the Supreme Court Building, and the
6


National Theater. Finally, hybridization denotes the processes of making hybrid
architecture that is Westernizing Siamese architecture as well as that of Siamizing
Western and Modem architecture.
Scope of Inquiry. Objects of Study, Theories and
Methods of Investigation
Investigating the transformation process of Siam toward Modernity through
architecture involves studies in three fields as illustrated by the below diagram.
Dissertation: Power, Identity, the Rise of Modern Architecture: from Siam to Thailand
Diagram 1-1 the Constituent Three Fields of Studies and this Dissertation
Modem Architecture
Modem architecture, and its development in Thailand, focuses on: a) the history
and historiography of Modem architecture on both an international level and in
domestic Siam; b) the ideological concept and characteristics of Modernism as an
artistic and architectural movement; c) the notion and condition of Modernity
giving birth to Modernism and Modem architecture; and d) the path of
Modernization.
Research in this field examines architectural writings by both Western and Thai
scholars playing significant roles in the development of Modem architecture in the
West and Thailand. The literature also includes theories, critiques, historical
narratives and interpretations from leading Modernist architects either as
individuals or collective movements.10
In studying the evolution of Modem architecture in Thailand, this research
explores how architectural ideas, through physical designs and spatial
configurations, serve as agents of both domestic and international politics. The
selection of the main object of studybuildingsgoes beyond simply their stylistic
7


configurations. 11 It takes into account that Westernizing and Modernizing
architecture in Thailand is culturally constructed as a top-down, rather than
bottom-up phenomenon. Accordingly, the sphere of inquiry concentrates on
places associated with negotiations of political power: throne halls, parliament
buildings, government and other structures constructed since the 1850s with
national significance, although some are places that relate to influential political
figures because of their economic and social impetus. Four edifices exemplify
such structures:
The Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall (Fig.1-1), 1876, architect: John Clunich
The Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall (Fig. 1-2), 1907, architect: Annibale Rigotti
The National Assembly (Fig. 1-3), 1973, architect: the Public Works Department
The Proposed Design for New House of Parliament (Fig. 1-4), Not yet decided
Figure 1-1 John Clunich, Figure 1-2 Annibale Figure 1-3 the Department of Figure 1-4
Chakri Maha Prasat Rigotti, Anantha Public Works, the National New House of
Throne Hall, Samakhom Throne Assembly, the House of Parliament,
Bangkok, 1876 Hall, Bangkok, 1907 Parliament, Bangkok, 1973 2003
These four buildings formulate the core of the study because they are a direct link
to the seats of power. This investigation also involves:
The Supreme Court (Fig. 1-5), 1935, architect: the Public Works Department
The Bureau of Public Relations Old Headquarters (Fig. 1-6), 1963, architect: the
Public Works Department.
Hualampong Central Train Station (Fig 1-7), 1907, architect: Mario Tamagno
The Rajadamnem Edifice Groups (Fig. 1-8&1-9), 1941, architect: Jitrsean
Apaiwong
Standard design for the Provincial Government Headquarters (Fig. 1-10), ca.
1950s, architect: the Public Works Department
Benjamabopit Temple (Fig. 1-11), 1901, architect: Prince Narisaranuwattiwong, a
younger brother of King Chulalongkom (Rama V)
The Prime Minister Chancellery (Fig. 1-12), ca. 1910s, architect: Mario Tamagno
The National Theater (Fig. 1-13), ca. 1950s, architect: the Department of Fine
Arts
8


Figure 1-5 the Department of Figure 1-6 the Department of
Public Works, the Supreme Court, Public Works, the Bureau
(Background) Bangkok, 1935 of Public Relations Old
Headquarters, Bangkok, 1963
Figure 1-7 Mario
Tamagno, Hualampong
Central Train
Station, Bangkok, 1907
Figure 1-8 Jitrsean Figure 1-9 Corrado Feroci,
Apaiwong, the Democracy Monument,
Rajadamnern Edifice Bangkok, 1939
Groups, Bangkok, 1941
Figure 1-10 the Department of Public
Works, Standard Design for the
Provincial Government Headquarters,
ca. 1950s
Figure 1-11 Prince Figure 1-12 Mario Tamagno, Figure 1-13 the Department
Narisaranuwattiwong, the Prime Minister Chancellery, of Fine Arts, the National
Benjamabopit Temple, Bangkok, ca. 1910s Theater, Bangkok, ca. 1950s
Bangkok, 1901
In addition, although not being the principal objects of study themselves, a number
of mostly traditional Thai buildings, such as temples and palaces, provide
background information and contextual knowledge for this dissertation. To cite
some examples:
The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) (Fig. 1-14)
Temple of Reclining Buddha (Wat Poh) (Fig. 1-15)
Traditional Thai House, Ruan Ton (Fig. 1-16)
Temple of the Metal Palace (Wat Rajanatda) (Fig. 1-17)
The Grand Palace (Praborommaharajawung) (Fig. 1-18)
Temple of Emerald Buddha (Wat Prakao) (Fig. 1-19&1-20)
Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall (Fig. 1-21)
Phra Maha Monthian Throne Hall (Fig. 1-22)
Borommabhiman Royal Residence (Fig. 1-23)
9


Figure 1-14 Figure 1-15
the Temple of jemple 0f Reclining
Dawn (Wat Buddha (Wat Poh),
Arun)18 Bangkok, 1781
century, Bangkok
Figure 1-16 Traditional
Thai House, Ruan Ton,
Dusit Palace, 19th-20,h
Century, Bangkok
Figure 1-17 Temple of the
Metal Palace
(Wat Rajanatda),
Bangkok,1864
Figure 1-18 the Grand Palace Figure 1-19 Temple ofEmerald Figure 1-20 Temple of Emerald
(Praborommaharajawung), Buddha (Wat Prakao), Buddha (Wat Prakao),
Bangkok, 1782 Bangkok, 1782 Bangkok, 1782
Figure 1-21
Dusit Maha Prasat Throne
Hall, Bangkok, 1790
Figure 1-22
Phra Maha Monthian Throne
Hall, Bangkok, 1782
Figure 1-23 C. Sandreczki,
Borommabhiman Royal
Residence, Bangkok, 1897
Information on these buildings comes from conducting archival research,
collecting data from both primary and secondary documents, i.e., royal archives,
government records, architectural drawings, memoirs, original photographs,
autobiographies, travel diaries, legal document, letters, symposia, meeting
minutes, academic lectures and previous scholarly studies, apart from the buildings
themselves.12 Not only does it investigate descriptions of buildings and their
histories, but also the historiography of Thai architecture since the 1850s. While
extracting information on factual and material conditions, this research analyzes
and reconstructs the epistemology of Modem Thai architecture.13
History of Thailand: 19th and 20th Centuries
The history of Thailand during the last two hundred years serves as contextual and
background knowledge, which this study uses as its foundation. Investigation in
10


this area also contains the philosophical and ideological concepts of Thai history,
including nationalism, along with the social, economic, political and cultural
structure of the country.
Studying the evolution of Thai national culturereflected by Thai historiography
and its cultural artifacts, including architecturemust rest on: a) the degree to
which Thai society has been transformed by outside political and economic forces
encroaching on the country; and b) the extent to which Thai, or Siamese, society
preserves its own social form by means of both resistance and selective acceptance
of foreign influences.14
As a matter of fact, the historiography of Thailand cannot be separated from the
idea of nationhood and identity, which exists in terms of a hybrideclectic yet
syncretic at the same time. Consequently, hybridity functions as a point of
departure for studying the history of Thailand, as remarked by Winichakul (1994):
The identification ascribed to nationhood does not present any
intrinsic quality of it. It represents what it creates. The definition
and domain of nationhood are not given. They are constructed,
carved, inscribed, fabricated. Nor is its unity given. The
identification is formed by the composition of effects of discourses,
which define its domain, confer meanings, or confront each other
from time to time. It is always unfixed, ambiguous, self-
contradictory, yet too extensive. The presence of identity is merely
a temporary discursive conjecture in which certain discourses have
stabilized their hegemonic forces upon the domain. But other
discourses always exist marginally in certain areas, and new ones
can emerge to challenge, destabilize, and displace the domain
discoursethus reinscribing the domain and hence the identity.
Identity is always in crisis of contention and displacement; thus, it
is always changeable. The life of such an identity is neither stable
nor continuous. It is full of moment of shift, disruption and
displacement. The study of nationhood should therefore dispense
with the illusory notion of identity. Moreover, since the creation of
nationhood is full of contention, struggle, and displacement, a
study of discursive identification becomes a study of ambiguities,
misunderstandings, unstable moments of signification, and the
intrinsic forces which nurture such identification15
Thailands narrative of the past as well as the nations self-image, exists inside of
the paradigm of Colonialism, yet direct rule by European powers has been
11


nonexistent.16 One may argue that the Siameses efforts toward Anti-colonization
indeed occur in terms of homologous opposition. It revolts against the
hegemony of Europe while seemingly retaining the independence of the kingdom.
Although ironically, in order to be free, Siam had to open the country to Western
ideology, culture and practice, and then assimilate them.17
In any case, Power, Identity, and the Rise of Modern Architecture: from Siam to
Thailand does not ignore the conventional ways of organizing Thai history: the
royal-national historiography. It recognizes and reflects the traditional
epistemology of Thai history based on a politically motivated chronology of
records by the ruling elite. Such a historiography is commonly classified as:
The Prelude of Change, before 1850 (King Rama I-III)
The Dawn of Western Influences 1851 -67 (King Rama IV)
The Reformation Period 1868-1910 (King Rama V)
The Modernized Empire 1911-25 (King Rama VI)
The End of Absolute Monarchy 1926-32 (King Rama VII)
The Period of Turmoil Democracy 1933-56 (King Rama VIII)
The Regime of Military Dictators 1957-78 (King Rama IX)
The Second Reformation 1979-89 (King Rama IX)
The Democratic Government since 1990 (King Rama IX)
Although acknowledging the traditional historiographical model, this research
orders its temporal structure differently. Influences from Post-colonial theories,
evolving from studies on political, social and economic circumstances of the
African and South Asian nations, suggest the following alternative organization:18
a) The Colonial Imposition Period is when Western colonial powers impose their
culture upon that of an indigenous culture to undermine or to deny its
existence.
b) The Colonial Opposition Period is when the indigenous people assimilate
Western ideology and use Western cultural artifacts to resist the colonial
process.
c) The Colonial Exposition Period is when the indigenous people succeed in
gaining independence from colonial powers. Native intellectuals and artists
then use Western artifacts that get ingrained in the culture against their own
corrupted national government.
d) The Colonial Emigration Period is when the government, normally an
autocratic regime, forces the indigenous intellectuals and artists to leave the
country and to seek refuge elsewhere due to political conflicts.
12


However, because it was developed from studies on social, economic and cultural
circumstances of African and South Asian nations, the above temporal structure
needs a major modification before being applied to an investigation of Thailand.
The revision results in the following format:
1. The Colonial Imposition Period: (1850-1932) the importation of Western
ideology and cultural artifacts to Siam to accommodate the colonization
process in both international and domestic dimensions. This period begins
around 1850. The time preceding the 1850s is recognized as simply a pre-
colonial era, in spite of the fact that contact with the West began in the 16th
century.
2. The Colonial Opposition Period: (1850-1932) the importation of Western
ideology and cultural artifacts to Siam to oppose the colonization process in
both international and domestic dimensions. This happened simultaneously
with the Colonial Imposition Period.
3. The Colonial Exposition Period: (1932-1979) the application of Western
culture in Thailand to promote certain internal political and social ideologies,
as well as to implement the national government policies.
4. The Colonial Emigration Period: (1980-Present) the commodification of
Western ideology and cultural artifacts in Thailand happening concurrently
with the application of Thai culture by the West. This is the beginning of Neo-
colonialism: the age of economic, intellectual and cultural colonization via the
globalization process led by the American rather than the European.
Examining the writings of Thai national history also provides contextual and
background knowledge for investigating the narrative on the existence of Western
and Modem architecture in Thailand (the data synthesis) aside from the history
and historiography of Thai architecture (the data analysis), which is performed in
conjunction with the archival research and literature review (the data collection).19
Cross-cultural Studies
Cross-cultural Studies contains research in various sub-disciplines including
Colonial/Anti-colonial processes, as well as the overlapping areas of cultural and
national identity in relationship to the history of Thailand.
Cross-cultural Studies derives from a foundational premise that humans are
interconnected; the ways in which one culture constructs meanings of the world
could influence how people perceive themselves and other cultures. To
13


understand how different cultures interact, Cross-cultural Studies investigates
relationships among methods of communication, modes of representation, and
identity formations. Accordingly, not only does Cross-cultural Studies develop an
appreciation for the need and the ability to identify with cultural traditions other
than ones own, but also the need to comprehend the interdependent nature of
world society and the meanings of living in a multi-faceted society both locally
and globally.
For Power, Identity, and the Rise of Modern Architecture: from Siam to Thailand,
Cross-cultural Studies functions as a toolbox, offering a variety of theories and
methods for its investigation. Importantly, however, in order to be intellectually
accountable for applying these theories and methods to scholarly research, caution
must be used because Cross-cultural Studies is still an evolving field, and has not
yet been well-defined. In fact, it has become so heterogeneous that no single
definition can encompass every theoretical position now branding itself Cross-
cultural Studies. Interestingly, some theoretical positions are irreconcilable; one
directly opposing another. For instance, there are scholars who see Cross-cultural
Studies as designating an amorphous set of discursive practicesi.e. Post-colonial,
Post-modern theories, and Deconstructionand those who see it as designating a
historical set of cultural strategies, i.e., Hermeneutics, Phenomenology,
Structuralism and Semiotics.
This dissertation recognizes the problems of incompatibility within the evolving
field of Cross-cultural Studies. It does not seek to reconcile those theories and
methods, but instead to use each according to its own capability and suitability to
subjects and objects of investigation. This results in a multi-perspective study,
which leads to a better understanding of the existence of Western architecture in
Siam and Modem architecture in Thailand. The following discussions provide
brief explanations of sub-disciplinary components of Cross-cultural Studies and
their applications.
Post-colonialism. Post-colonial studies offer philosophical foundations and
theoretical frameworks to bring together all the three major fields of study:
Modem Architecture, History of Thailand: 19th-20th centuries, and Cross-cultural
Studies. The justification for applying Post-colonial theory comes from the fact
that Siam, and later Thailand, adopt and assimilate Western ideology and culture
(like Modem architecture and Democracy) into their unique social and cultural
systems without being directly colonized by the Western powers.
14


Developed in the disciplines of linguistics and literary criticism during the 1960s,
this self-reflexive discourse elucidates, the hegemony of Euro-centric axiology and
epistemology imposed upon a group or culture victimized and marginalized by the
imperial process. As the term is now employed in various fields, Post-colonialism
describes a remarkably heterogeneous set of subject positions by means of
dismantling its master narrative.
Importantly, post-colonial does not mean a state of independence from the
colonizer or refer to the colonization period after the colonizer has left, as
misleadingly understood. All non-Westem societies are still subjected one way or
another to overt or subtle forms of Neo-colonialism, e.g., economic, intellectual, or
cultural domination. In other words, gaining independence from former colonial
powers does not end colonization. Instead, the colonial process simply changes its
form. The development of a new elite within independent societies, often
buttressed by Neo-colonial institutions, such as the IMF, WTO, and World Bank;
the development of internal divisions based on gender, racial, ethnic, linguistic, or
religious discriminations; and the unequal treatment of indigenous peoples in
settler/invader societies, testify that Post-colonialism is a continuing process of
resistance and reconstruction.20
Correspondingly, the scope of Post-colonial inquiry does not limit the
geographical and cultural domain and/or response to the influential master
discourse of imperial Europe, such as history, philosophy and linguistics in
addition to the experience of thinking, speaking, writing, and building by which all
of these come into being. It embodies experience of various kinds, e.g., migration,
slavery, suppression, resistance, representation, difference, place, race and gender,
as well as social class. None of these is an essentially Post-colonial subjects in
themselves. Yet, together, they form the complex fabric of the field, which is also
r\ 1
applicable to research in architectural history, interpretation and criticism.
Nevertheless, Post-colonialism tends to be understood as an object of desire for
critical practice to expose asymmetrical power negotiation. Western colonialism
takes various forms in different times and in different places, proceeding through
conscious planning and contingent occurrences. As a result of such complex
developments, powerful colonial cultures find themselves appropriated by counter-
colonial resistance, which draws upon many diverse indigenous local and foreign
processes of self-determination to defy, de-legitimize, discard and displace the
tremendous power of cultural knowledge of the colonizer. Ironically, some
strategies used by the colonized stem from the concept of nationalism, which is in
fact an invention of Western culture itself. 22 This assertion lends support for
perceiving hybrid Thai cultural artifacts as the outcome of an interaction between
15


the imperialistic European-American culture and the complexity of Siamese
cultural practice.
The decision for selecting Post-colonial theory arises from the notion that Modem
architecture is a product of Euro-centric culture. Hence, the rise of Modem
architecture in Thailand indeed signifies the Western colonization process,
economically, intellectually and perhaps the most important, culturally. Despite
the fact that Post-colonial theory itself is Western, it reveals this imperial process
in the international arena (the hegemonic tactics of the European to assert its
power over Siam, and by the same token, the natives response to the West in
terms of anti-colonialism and nationalism). It exposes the domestic colonial
process as well (a strategy of the ruling elite to attain, legitimize, and maintain
their authority above the indigenous subaltern).
Post-modernism. The activity of dismantling aligns Post-colonialism with
the discourse of Post-modernism. Yet, they do differentiate. While Post-
colonialism concentrates on dissembling the hegemony of the Euro-centric
axiology and epistemology, Post-modernism centers on dismantling the orthodoxy
of the Modem epistemology: the binaries of Self and Otherthe centralized, logo-
centric, master-narrative authority of Modernity that is also a product of Western
civilization. Although the two Posts often address the same phenomenon, their
interpretations are typically different. Post-Modernism still holds on to the
evolutionary modelthat there is a single path established by Western culture,
which in turn ensures the idea of norm and subjectivity established by the Euro-
centric culture. Post-colonialism does not. The parallax between the two could be
explained by an analogy in which Post-modem study places its attention on how
the world dreams about being Europe and America, then Post-colonial studies is
about waking from that dream, and learning to dream otherwise.23
However, both share peculiarities that are pertinent to this dissertation: the concept
of oppositionality and the method of Deconstruction.24 Through them, the two
Posts operate in the dimensions of a) formal: the fallacy and duplicity of realism;
b) thematic: marginality, history and historiography; and c) strategic: discursive
and rhetorical tactics, i.e., irony, allegory, mimicry and parody.25
Nationalism. The next and perhaps the most important area of
investigation is nationalism. John Breuilly (1994) explains that the term refers to
dissimilar phenomena, some of them contradictory. He proposes three approaches
to understanding nationalism as: a) as a set of ideas about the origins,
16


characteristics and political destinies of a nation; b) as a sentiment shared by
specific groups of people; and c) as a form of politics. Although all three views
interconnect, they are not easily reconciled. Actually, the creation of a new nation
'JC.
state sometimes occurs outside these theories.
Like Breuilly, this dissertation regards the notion of nationalism as a form of
politics. As a political movement seeking to exercise state power and justifying its
power, nationalism operates on the following grounds: 1) a distinct nation exists;
2) the interests and values of a nation are the supreme priority; and 3) a nation
must be independent. Obviously, these theoretical stances stem from the belief
that nationalism arises from the ideology and practice of achieving the status of a
27
modem nation state.
As in the United States, historical Thai textbooks and many legends portray
Thailands history in terms of its great past, the brave heroes and heroines, in most
cases the royalties, who built the nation state and conquered neighboring countries.
Known as the royal national history or the legend of sovereignty, it weaves
together numerous stories into the same structure: the idea of nationalism. While
retaining that core, this kind of history is open to additions.
The Siam ruling elite developed the royal national history, whose narrative prose is
idealistic rather than realistic, as a discourse to counteract the Western colonial
rulers, and to indoctrinate the native people about their civilization. The structure
of this history is simple. First, it assumes that the nation of Siam, or Thai, has
naturally existed. Then, it goes on to the narratives about struggles against
invasions by foreign entities to preserve national sovereignty under the heroic
bravery of several kings.
In reality, the nation of Siam, or Thai, is indeed a modem creation by nationalist
historians who reproduce and distribute this construct and thus support and
strengthen the position of the ruling elite. The kingdoms of Sukhothai, Lanna,
Ayutthaya, and early Rattanakosin (Bangkok before 1850) never truly formed a
nation, but rather existed as city-states.
Semiotics. Another constituent of the cross-cultural study is Semiology:
the study of signs.29 Since architecture is responsible for more than just defining
space, but also for making space an incarnation of human experiences, it
essentially functions as a cultural artifact. On that basis, by alluding to the theory
of Semiotics, architecture, too, can be studied in a manner similar to that of textual
material. For instance, to use a language analogy, the physicality of a building
17


such as the stylistic composition and the patterns of connections between the parts
and the whole in architectural programs parallels the grammatical relationships
among words in a sentence, and/or among sentences in a paragraph.
Likewise, concerning architectural signification, a building functions as a sign that
contains two inseparable elements, the Signified (architectural meanings), and the
Signifier (formal compositions and spatial organizations). Nelson Goodmans
general theory of signs (1968) elucidates the principle of Semiotics as:
The relation between signs and the world can be described, similar
to any relation, in terms of its formal structure, the objects related,
and its genealogy. Yet, apart from that formal and factual analysis,
there is nothings left to be said. Words are labels attached to
things, but the attempt to justify that practice merely repeats it.
Using words and their components presupposes precisely the
justification that they aim to provide30
A corollary of the view above is that relations of identical logical structure and
genealogy between relatively similar terms are really one and the same. If
architecture and words are signs, then buildings stand for their cultural
signification the same way that proper names do to the objects denoted by them.
Thus, the meanings of the signs are attached, along with the artistic practice that
creates them. When appropriating the idea from Semiotics to investigate the
existence of Western and especially Modem architecture in Thailand, it is arguable
that the colonial discourse of the Euro-centric culture supplied the framework, if
not the process itself, of signification to the edifice.
Methodology
Diagram 1-2 illustrates the methodological design of this dissertation based on the
aforementioned theories and methods, as well as the three fields of studies.
In examining the transformation process of Siam toward Modernity, possible
criticism arises when applying Western theories and methods, such as
Deconstruction, Post-colonial and Post-Modem theories, to study a non-Westem
subject like Thailand. Typical Thai readers, scholars or not, could easilyor
erroneouslylabel Power, Identity, and the Rise of Modern Architecture: from
Siam to Thailand as a research that tam kon farang, translation: tags along behind
the Westerners, since it does not relate to or fit into their conventional viewpoints
18


of Thai identities. According to these critics, the theories and methods used by
farangs (Westerners) may approach the subjects of Thai studies, but are unable to
gain insight and intimacy unlike the Thai point of view. Likewise, Thai
researchers who employ such extraneous theories and methods are intellectually
colonized by farangs, ignorant to their own native culture while serving in the
capacity of agents of the West to destroy the Thai nation and society.
This dissertation could fall into what Edward Said (1978) described as the
discourse of Orientalism that imposes the Euro-centric structure of knowledge
upon a non-Western context like Thailand. Western scholars as a part of the
power relations have used discourses on people, cultures, and countries outside
Europe. Here, the Orient creates the presence of the inferior Other in order to
confirm the identification and the superiority of the West itself rather than
performing as a documentation of what the Orient actually is.32
Personal
Interviews
DATA COLLECTION
The Analysis &
Synthesis of the History and
Historiography of Western and
Modern Architecture in
Thailand
DATA ANALYSIS &
SYNTHESIS"
DATA
INTERPRETATION
The Post-colonial
Interpretations of Western and
Modern Thai Architecture
Diagram 1-2 the Methodological Design of the Dissertation
In this line of thinking, Thailand, its people and culture can be perceived as a
European invention, which helps to define Europe and the West by supplying
contrasting images, ideas, personalities and experiences. In other words, the
country is a reflection of what the European material civilization and culture is not,
19


acting in contrast with the Occident in terms of cultural-ideological expression and
representation.
Criticism also comes from Western scholars who feel guilty about Eurocentricism.
While correction, apology, and cure are put forth, sometimes it goes too far.
The fact that there was no struggle between colonial and anti-
colonial scholarship in Thai studies has sometimes led to uncritical
intellectual cooperation by pro-indigenous Western scholars who
have tended to accept the established views of the Siamese elite as
the legitimate discourse about Thailand.
Lured by Thai scholars self-proclaimed legitimacy, many Western scholars
simply accept what they are told by their Thai counterparts without seriously
questioning the merits of the information obtained from these insiders.
Despite the unclear identification or constitution of Thainess, the
notion is obvious enough in the minds of Thai people. It is a
thing on earth, and in history, which processes particular features,
all of which are distinct from others. For many Thai scholars, a
study of thing is what Thai people profoundly know better than
anyone else...This Thainess is what Thai people belong to and are
part of. In another sense, it is what belongs to them and is a
common part of their lives. The sense of identity as a part of each
other enable Thai Scholars to presume a privileged status in the
field of Thai studies because Thai is not just an area of study but
an intrinsic part of them. By contrast, farang scholars have to
overcome an enormous distant between the writing self and the
subject written about34
Although all of the above criticisms are sound and reasonable, this research
strongly argues that: a) the belief in the privilege of the insider is a fallacy (albeit
this researcher is a native Thai scholar himself); and b) a total rejection of Western
methods and theories by Thais contains a hidden political agenda. Studies of
anything Thai by Thai people dwell within the realm of an orthodox perspective.
This paradigm of self-righteousness lends itself to an established view projected by
the Siamese ruling elite as a legitimate discourse about Thailand. This construct
advocates and defends certain viewpoints, sentiments, along with constraints,
taboos, alibis, as well as possibilities and plausibilities while repressing and
denying others, which has led to egotism, narcissism, and jingoism. It provides a
20


basis to judge any topic associated with Thai, e.g., what is good and what is bad
for Thai together with what is Thai and what is not Thai.
The notion of Thaiworldview, people, eyes, thinking, behavior,
cognition, and perceptionin this statement seems to be
homogenous and demands no further clarification because it is
embodied in the writing subjects, or authors. This kind of research
has become abundant recently, mostly carried out by centers of
ethnographic studies in each region and by historians.
Consequently, we have worldviews of northern, northeastern, and
southern Thai and worldviews of Thai people in the Sukhothai,
Ayutthaya, and the early Bangkok periods. The methodology is
virtually the samethat is, the cataloging of source materials
according to the researchers predetermined notion of what
constitutes a Thai worldview. The writers then paraphrase from
their sourcesfolk tales, songs, proverbs, gamesand offer the
result as an analysis of Thai worldviews.35
The aforementioned viewpoint possesses a very serious misconception because
those researchers simply accepted its premises without questioning whether their
writings really represent Thai world views, let alone what is actually a Thai
worldview and whether such a thing exists. Neither did they consider whether
their results were the products of their taxonomies mistakenly identified as
methodology instead of theoretical foundations. In many cases, the writers
assumed that they are the same. For them, their writing subject is indeed the
supposedly and proudly claimed Thai worldview, substantiated by the materials of
their investigations.36
Challenging such a (pseudo) ethnographic perspective on Thai studies means to
expose and dismantle the taken-for-granted legitimacy of an insider discourse
asserting that Siam and Thailand is only valid and authoritative when it: a) is
performed by Thai people; b) uses indigenous methods of scholarship; c) is
conducted within accepted parameters of inquiry; and d) supports certain
ideologies, i.e. the notion of the Thai. This is where non-native theories and
methods, such as Deconstruction, Post-colonial and Post-Modern theories come in
by offering a different approach to Thai studies. In spite of the fact that they
originate from the West, these theories and methods argue that the discourse of
Thainess, similar to the hegemonic discourse of Western colonization, embodies
power relations as well.
21


Thus, Post-colonial theories contribute valuable applications for investigating
Thailand, its people, culture, and society. For this research in particular, they
show that while resisting Western domination, within Thai society, Thainess is the
rallying cry employed by the ruling elite to gain, legitimize and preserve their
authority over their own people. Although appearing to be an anti-Western
discourse, it belongs to the oppressor, instead of the oppressed, in order to reaffirm
the grip over its own sphere of power. In reality, since the definition of Thainess
has never been and probably will never be clear, this hegemonic and official
discourse, not only competes with other interpretations that defy accepted
definitions of Thainess, but also asserts the supremacy of the ruling elite over the
subordinate and marginal ones.
Conceptualization
Power, Identity, and the Rise of Modern Architecture: from Siam to Thailand
focuses on the existence of Western architecture in Siam and Modem architecture
in Thailand by examining the dimensions of space and time. Signified through
color codes, the temporal begins with, arguably, a state of Siamese culture
uncontaminated by Western influence, traditional Thai architecture. Built at
relatively the same time as the construction of Bangkok (from 1782 to 1850), the
temples and palaces of this period, such as the Temple of Dawn and Poh Temple
(1A and 2A), are represented in Diagram 1-3 by the color red.
Next, the Grand Palace illustrates a prime example of hybridity between Thai and
Western cultures. With influences from Europe (coded in blue), hybridized
structures became visible after 1850, of which the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall
is the most prominent. Interestingly, however, while welcoming Western artistic
and architectural ideas, as evidenced by the Borommabhiman Residence, the
Siamese ruling elite maintained ties to their cultural identity by patronizing
traditional architecture, for instance, restoring the Temple of Emerald Buddha,
renovating and enlarging both the Dusit Maha Prasat and Mahamonthien Throne
Halls (1B-3B). A combination of red and blue colors in Diagram 1-3 demonstrates
this phenomenon.
From 1850 to the present, the processes of Westernization and Modernization gain
their momentum over Siamese cultural artifacts. The variation of light to dark blue
colors, indicates the direction of Thai architecture towards Western architectural
styles, culminating in the Anantasamakhom Throne Hall and the National
Assembly. Foreshadowing these are the Prime Ministers Chancellery, The
22


Supreme Court, the Rajadamnem Building Group, the Bureau of Public Relations
Headquarters, and Hualampong Central Train station (1C-5C). This change
happened at the same time as the countrys political transformation toward
democracy, reaching its climax in 1932.
Nonetheless, Westernization and Modernization met with resistance. From 1850
on, to preserve cultural identity and to create a national identity, traditional Thai
architecture merged with Western concepts, technology, and materials. The result
was a quest for a National Style as manifested in Benjamabopit Temple, the
standard design for the Provincial Government Headquarters, the National Theater,
and the proposed design for the New House of Parliament (1D-5D).
The transformation of Thai architecture after 1850, therefore, is by no means
unidirectional, but includes a Siamization process represented by the variation of
light blue and red as well. This dissertation focuses on the time between 1850 to
the present, which is divided into the Colonial Imposition, Opposition, Exposition,
and Emigration Periods. The Diagram 1-3 exhibits how these concepts operate in
the temporal dimension.
For the spatial dimension, Map 1-1 displays this dissertations objects of study
the government and civic buildingsin physical reality. Most of them dwell in
Ratanakosin Island or Old Town Bangkok.37 Two focal nodes exist in this urban
fabric. The origin for the city of Bangkok was the Grand Palace. During the reign
of King Rama V, the king built himself a garden palace: Suan Dusit Palace, at the
northern outskirts, outside of the capitals wall. Connecting the two together is
Rajadamnem Avenue (shown in green),the corridor of power.38 Perhaps the
most significant street in Thailand, not only does it symbolize the governments
authorityautocratic or democraticbut also serves as a stage for democratic
movements in 1932, 1973, 1976, and recently in 1992.
The edifices along Rajadamnem Avenue are generally of political importance,
signifying the negotiation and allocation of power, apart from Anti-colonial
discourse, and exhibiting the identity that the nation aspired to assume. However,
others are associated with influential political figures and/or bear economic and
social significance.
Finally, the temporal and spatial dimensions of investigating the existence of
Western architecture in Siam and Modem architecture in Thailand converge with
one another. Diagram 4 exhibits the physical reality: the locations of this
dissertations objects of study (Map 1-1) that are superimposed on the conceptual
diagram of Westemization/Modemization and Siamization processes (Diagram 3).
23


This happened along the lines of the Colonial Imposition, Opposition, Exposition,
and Emigration Periods.
In Diagram 1-4, the idea of hybridity, a combination of red and blue colors,
functions as a point of departure, whose prime examples reside in the Grand
Palace. To the south of this complex, coded in red, stands examples of traditional
Thai architecture, the state of Siamese culture uncontaminated by Western
influence, represented by the Temple of Dawn and Poh Temple.
Northward along Rajadamnem Avenue is the progression of Western and Modem
architecture-signified by a variation of light to dark blueculminating in the
Anantasamakhom Throne Hall and the National Assembly near Suan Dusit Palace.
However, since the transformation of Thai architecture after 1850 is not
unidirectional, the Siamization process presents the movement southward along
Rajadamnem Avenue back to the uncontaminated state of Siamese culture by
Western influence. This is represented by the variation of light blue and red.
LEGEND__________________
Westemized/Modemized architecture is coded by the
variation from blue to black colors, while Siamized
Westem/Modem architecture is coded by the variation
from light blue to red color.
I nu.ml
Westernisation
/Model mzjtion
rc>'\.irtl r
Siami/ution
i
A: Traditional Thai
Architecture
1A: Temple of Dawn
2A: Poh Temple
3A: Traditional Thai
House
B: The Grand Palace
IB: Temple of
The Emerald Buddha
2B: Dusit Maha
Prasat Throne Hall
3B: Maha Monthien
Throne Hall
4B; Chakri Maha
Prasat Throne Hall
5B: Borommabhiman
Royal Residence
C: Westernizing/
Modernizing Thai Architecture
1C: Prime Ministers
Chancellery
2C: The Supreme Court
3C: The Rajadamnem Edifice Group
and Democracy Monument
4G: The Bureau of Public
Relations Old Headquarters
5C: The Hualampong
Central Train Station
D: Siamizing
Western/Modern Architecture
ID: Benjamabopit Temple
2D: Rajanatda Temple
3D: The National Theater
4D: Standard design for the Provincial
Government Headquarters
E: Suan Dusit Palace
IE: The Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall and the
Former House of Parliament
2E: The National Assembly Hall,
the House of Parliament
Diagram 1-3 Westernization/Modernization and Siamization Processes
24


5B:
Boromma-
bhiman
Royal
Residence
1a: Temple of Dawn
2A: Poh Temple 3A: Traditional Thai House
Diagram 1-3 (Cont.)
25


MAP KEY:
Boundary of the Ratanakosinlsland
Map 1-1 the Objects of Studys Physical Locations along the Rajadamnern Avenue


Buildings shown in Italic are the main objects of study.
Rajadamnem Avenue
The Boundary of Ratanakosin Island
Westemization/Modemization Process
Siaraization Process
Towaid
| Westernization
emixation
I Toward
ISiamization '
Siamizing
Western/Modern
Architecture
The Proposed Design
for New House of Parliament
Benjamabopit Temple
Rajasnatda Temple
The National Theater
Standard design for
the Provincial
Government Headquarters
The Grand Palace: f
Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall
Temple of The Emerald Buddha
Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall
Maha Monthien Throne Hall
Borommabhiman Rpyal Residence
Traditional Thai Architecture
Temple of Dawn
Poh Temple /
Traditional Thai
House /
Westernizing/
Modernizing
Thai Architecture
The Prime Ministers
Chancellery
The Supreme Court
The Rajadamnem
Edifice Group and The
Democracy Monument
The Bureau of Public
Relations Old Headquarters
The Hualampong
Central Train Station
Diagram 1-4 the Processes of Westernization/Modernization
and Siamizationlin the Physical Reality
27


Research Organization
This dissertation thematically organizes its study in terms of the development of
social, political, economic and cultural formations reflected in the designs of
cultural artifacts. Consequently, the primary objective here is neither
(re)constructing a comprehensive history, nor representing an extensive view of
the Westernization and Modernization processes in the architecture of Siam and
Thailand.
Yet, like any investigation, this dissertation requires a theme. In this case, it is the
topic of hybridity, hybrid and hybridization that serves as a point of departure and
links each chapter together. On that basis, the outline of Power, Identity, and the
Rise of Modern Architecture: from Siam to Thailand is:
Chapter One is an introduction presenting the overview of the study, its
background, theoretical and methodological frameworks.
Chapter Two reviews related literature that the dissertation incorporates in each
field of study.
Chapter Three provides background knowledge for this dissertation. It explains
the concepts and applications of architectural signification for Siamese culture,
considering the issues of power and identity. The study explores its agenda in the
dimensions of: a) the construction of the nation; b) the essence of nationhood; and
c) the creation of the national identitythe myth of Thainess. This chapter also
discusses the countrys change toward Western culture and Modernity resulting in
the development of Western architecture in Siam and Modem architecture in
Thailand. It includes the investigation of native responses to the Western
encroachment: the Colonial and Anti-colonial processes in Siam and Thailand both
internationally and domestically.
Chapter Four examines the process of colonial oppression: the Colonial
Imposition Period (1850-1932), in which the Anantha Samakhom Throne Hall
together with the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall, the Borommabhiman Royal
Residence, and the Rajadamnem Avenue are the main objects of investigation.
Chapter Five inquires into the process of colonial resistance: the Opposition
Period (1850-1932), in which the Siamization process of Western architecture
28


which is exemplified by Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall and is the principal case
study.
Chapter Six concentrates on the socio-politico-cultural body of Thailand: the
Colonial Exposition (1932-1979). The points of inquiry are the promotion of
political and social ideologies, and the creation of national self-consciousness.
The National Assembly, the House of Parliament is the main object of
investigation.
Chapter Seven accounts for the socio-economic development of Western and
Modem architecture in Thailand: the Colonial Emigration (1980-present),
especially in the context of the information technology and Globalization age.
This so-called Neo-colonialism also examines the issues of intellectual
colonization. The Proposed Design for a New House of Parliament is the primary
case study.
Chapter Eight is the summary and conclusion.
29


1 Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996)., 101.
2 The terms Siam, Siamese, Thai and Thailand although seemingly synonymous
mean two dissimilar periods. In this dissertation, Siam and Siamese refer to the
country and its people before the change in political system in 1932, and
subsequently that of the name itself in 1939, while Thai and Thailand are for those
of the post-193 9 era.
3 Dictionary Webster's, "Modem," in Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged
Dictionary of the English Language, ed. David Yerkes (New York: Portland
House, 1989)., 920.
4 Stephen Edelston Toulmin, Cosmopolis : The Hidden Agenda of Modernity
(New York: Free Press, 1990)., 134.
5 This is what Nietzsche called antiquarianism. See: Friderich Nietzsche, "The
Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life," in Untimely Meditations (New York:
Cambridge, 1983).
6 See: Thongchai Winichakul, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a
Nation (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994).
7 This study uses methods such as Hermeneutics and Deconstruction as its
operative mechanisms. Among the distinguishing characteristics of
Deconstruction are its demystification of the-taken-for-granted-hegemony of the
West and its epistemology of knowledge imposed upon a group or culture
victimized and marginalized by Western colonialism. Hermeneutics is an effective
methodology for reaching a horizon of understanding of shared concerns across
space and time. It reveals what is usually taken as peripheral, and brings what
usually is hidden to light. Despite their irreconcilable differences, Hermeneutics
and Deconstruction lend themselves well to the concept of hybridity, which
functions as the point of departure for this investigation.
8 Dictionary Webster's, "Hybrid," in Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged
Dictionary of the English Language, ed. David Yerkes (New York: Portland
House, 1989)., 695.
9 Hybridity also refers to different types of hybrids, e.g., an admixture between
thoroughbreds (canon) which produces a mongrel (deviations); a crossbreed
between a thoroughbred and a mongrel (permutations); and a combination of
mongrels (variations).
10 for instance, the Bauhaus, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
11 Regarding selection or sampling, the dissertation purposively chose its case
studies. Incorporated into the canon of Thai architectural history, scholars already
conducted a good deal of research into these works. In any case, such
investigations seem to be narrow in focus rather than broad in scope.
30


12 However, the inquiry may rely on secondary materials more than the primary
ones, since very few original documents survive or are available to public access.
Keep in mind that the mentality of the Thai authority on distributing information is
quite at odds from that of the West even for educational purposes due to different
cultural attitudes. Although the parliament passed a new Information Act in 1998,
in actuality, officials treat government documents as state property rather than
public records. As a result, to gain access to the information, a scholar must
establish a personal tie with the bureaucrat in charge of the records. Yet, the
situation is not hopeless because some helpful relationships are already in place,
such as private connections with officials from the Bureau of Royal Household.
Power, Identity and Modem Architecture: from Siam to Thailand may benefit
from these to a considerable degree. In spite of the fact that most available sources
written in English merely represent fractions of available knowledge, they exhibit
how studies on Thai architecture are presented to Western audiences.
13 Moreover, when possible, conducting private interviews is another method to
obtain in-depth information. In conjunction with archival research and the
literature review, additional information on the development of Modem
architecture in Thailand comes from interviewing some historically influential
figures. Each session cannot last longer than two hours, but the interviewer may
schedule more than one session with each individual. Nevertheless, this is merely
an auxiliary means for data collection, since almost all of the persons directly
involved in the phenomenon of Westernizing and Modernizing architecture in
Thailand are deceased, and the remaining few may not accessible due to personal
or health problems. The majority of these people used to work in academia and
are the second generation of the foreign-educated architects whose ages are well
over seventy. They were trained mainly in the United States during the 1940s
under the guidance of leading Modernists, such as Mies van der Rohe at IIT, and
Walter Gropius at Harvard. To address the lack of historical figures, the data
collection process, when possible, incorporates interview scripts/records
conducted with these persons when they were still alive or active.
14 Charles F. Keyes, Thailand, Buddhist Kingdom as Modem Nation-State,
Westview Profiles. Nations of Contemporary Asia (Boulder: Westview Press,
1986).
15 Winichakul, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation.173.
16 David Streckfuss, "The Mixed Colonial Legacy in Siam: Origins of Thai
Racialist Thought, 1890-1910," in Autonomous History, ed. L. Sears (Madison:
Center of Southesat Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin, 1993).
17
Penny Van Esterik, Materializing Thailand, Materializing Culture (Oxford ;
New York: Berg, 2000).
31


18
I am in debt to Prof. Moyo Okediji, an art historian from The College of Arts
and Media, University of Colorado at Denver for his advice on this
historiographical model. Also see: Moyo Okediji, African Renaissance: Old
Forms, New Images In Yoruba Art (Denver: University Press of Colorado, 2002).
19 Although several methods of investigation exist, this research mainly adapts
Hermeneutics for its data analysis/synthesis. Many scholars regard Hermeneutics
as being synonymous with Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, [1st ]
ed., Works (New York,: Harper & Row, 1971). In this line of thinking,
comprehension of the past arises from the viewers present situation: his or her
worldly and cultural involvement. Thereby, the approach does not primarily seek
to validate hypotheses, analyze causal relations, or synthesize conjectural theories,
but rather to (re) discover and describe the world empathetically. Edmund
Husserl, Ideas; General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology (London,New
York,: Allen & Unwin; Macmillan, 1958) maintained that human understanding
must come before an imposition of theoretical explanation. Hermeneutics is in
contradiction with the scientific way of studying history in almost every aspect. In
fact, it also conflicts with Deconstruction, which serves as the dissertations
method of interpretation.
Applying the Hermeneutics method to investigate the historiography of 19th and
20th-century Thai architecture enables different generations of historians to reach a
horizon of understanding, since it addresses the subject matter in multiple
dimensions. In order to provide a broad picture of the relationships between
buildings and the epistemology of Western and Modem architecture in Thailand,
this dissertation assembles various accounts from historians, architects, clients and
other related parties.
20 Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, The Post-Colonial Studies
Reader (London ; New York: Routledge, 1995)., 2.
21 Ibid.
22 Ibid.
23 Diana Brydon, "the White Inuit Speaks: Contamination as Literary Strategy," in
The Post-Colonial Studies Reader, ed. Gareth Griffiths Bill Ashcroft, and Helen
Tiffin (London; New York: Routledge, 1991).,137.
24 Deconstruction appears to be a method of inquisition bringing to light what has
been hidden, disapproved, and neglected despite the fact that the definition of
Deconstruction has been trivialized by many scholars; no one seems to be sure of
what the term really means. As a result, Deconstruction is not a singular entity or
activity that can be encapsulated in a single definition. The term involves wide
ranging strategies for reading texts and situations that aim to expose the various
forces and interests with which people construct their worlds.
32


Deconstruction begins as a method of literary criticism which assumes that
language refers only to itself rather than to an extratextual reality. It asserts
multiple conflicting interpretations of a text and bases such interpretations on the
philosophical, political, or social implications of the use of the language in the text
rather than on the author's intention.
Jacques Derrida, a leader of this movement, maintained that Deconstruction names
the ambiguities, consequences, inconsistencies, and contradictions inherent in our
world constructions. Deconstructive modes of analysis thus encourage us to
recognize the relativities that are inherent in every act of interpretation. It does not
seek to expose the relativities of one particular approach to the world and then
replace that approach with another. It aims, rather, to show that every
interpretation of the world is shot through with ambiguity, relativity, inconsistency,
and contradiction. Deconstruction targets surface, discursive, conscious elements
as well as deeper, non-discursive, even intuitive elements. This mode of analysis
seeks to overturn and displace the foundations of every system.
Deconstruction seeks to de-center self and community, to de-legitimatize the very
notion of order. It especially criticizes the ways in which communities interpret
the world in order to privilege some members of the community (or some
communities) at the expense of others in relationships of power. Communities
tend to interpret the world with regard to the importance of their own place in it,
often at the expense of other communities. Also see: Jacques Derrida, "Signature
Event Context," in Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: Univesity of Chicago Preess,
1982)., 329.
Functioning as a method for data interpretation, Deconstruction is suitable for
investigating the dialogue of power especially in terms of self-identity, notably the
national and cultural identity between the Siamese and Western cultures embedded
in the designs of Thai architecture from the 1850s to the present. The method
benefits architectural interpretation and criticism by disclosing the structures of
architectural meanings, together with the historiography of Thai cultural artifacts,
notably art and architecture, during the 19th and 20th centuries. In interpreting and
critiquing an investigation of the historical accounts of Modem Thai architecture,
Deconstruction focuses on the construction of architectural meanings with
reference to political, social, economic and cultural signification. For this
research, Deconstruction serves as its operative discourse, performed within the
conceptual framework of the Post-colonialism theory. By dismantling the
signification and epistemology of Modem Thai architecture, it may disclose hidden
agendas in the writing of that history. See: Jacques Derrida, "Signature Event
Context," in Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: Univesity of Chicago Preess,
1982)., 329.
33


25 Thomas Docherty, Postmodernism : A Reader (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1993)., 117-118.
26 John Breuilly, Nationalism and the State, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1994)., 1-14.
27 Ibid., 2.
28 Winichakul, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation.
29 also known as iconography.
30 Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art; an Approach to a Theory of Symbols
(Indianapolis,: Bobbs-Merrill, 1968).
31 For instance, when explaining the components of traditional Thai structures,
Western architectural terms like abacus, frieze, and entablature may be utilized
instead of the native terms like huasoa, narbun and jua.
32 Edward W. Said, Orientalism, 1st ed. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978).
33 Benedict Anderson, "Studies of the Thai State: The State of Thai Studies"
(paper presented at the International Studies, Athens, 1978)., 196.
34 Winichakul, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation., 6-7.
35 Ibid., 8.
36 Ibid., 9.
37 See: Naengnoi Suksri, Palace Architecture in Bangkok (London: Thames and
Hudson, 1996). for the historical urban development of Bangkok.
38 This dissertation benefits from Kim Dovey, "Memory, Democracy and Urban
Space: Bangkok's Path to Democracy," Journal of Urban Design 6, no. 3 (2001).,
265-282, for his study on the development of urban space and the meaning of
place along Rajadamnem Avenue.
34


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
The trouble with the English is that their hiss hiss history happened overseas, so
they dodo dont know what it means. 1
Westernization and Modernization
Asking the question: is it possible to be Modem without being Western? requires
reexamining the relationship between the West (Europe and America) and
Modernity. Also, more explanations are needed for the assertion that Western
imperial discourse considers Modernization a subset of Westernization, and then
propagandizes it as a trademark of Western civilization. Samuel Huntington (1996)
maintains that a Modernization process involves:
industrialization, urbanization, increasing levels of literacy,
education, wealth, and social mobilization, and more complex and
diversified occupational structures. It is a product of tremendous
expansion of tremendous scientific and engineering knowledge
beginning in the 18th century that made it possible for humans to
control and shape their environment in totally unprecedented ways.
Modernization is a revolutionary process comparable to the shift
from primitive to civilized societies, that is, the emergence of
civilization in the singular, which began in the valleys of the Tigris
and Euphrates, the Niles, and the Indus about 5000 BC. The
attitudes, values, knowledge, and culture of people in a modem
society differ greatly from those in a traditional society. As the
first civilization to modernize, the West leads in the acquisition of
the culture of modernity. As other societies acquire similar
patterns of education, work, wealth, and class structures, the
argument runs, this modem Western culture will become the
universal culture of the world.2
35


Huntington farther argues that it is a misunderstanding to equate Modernity with
Western civilization and vice versa.3 The West was the West long before it was
modernized. Rather, Western civilization possesses distinguishing characteristics
that help facilitate a modernization process. This false identification has confused
the term Modernization with Westernization, although Modernity itself
originates from the West. Thus, Modernization does not refer to Modernity as
a process of Westernization but rather the Modernization process of the West.4
Westernization and Modernization: from Siam to Thailand
Siam and Thailand responded to Westernization and Modernization in three
different ways. First, Siam followed the course of Rejectionism from the 1700s
until 1850s. Only restricted contact with Westerners was permitted after the reign
of King Narai of Ayutthaya (1656-1688). Then until the mid-19th century, a
limited form of Modernization occurred in terms of the importation of weaponry
and trade. Since the 1997 economic crisis, Rejectionism appears to be a strategy
the radical Thai nationalist movement has embraced.
The second response is similar to the methods used by Mustafa Kemal Attaturk in
transforming the remains of the Ottoman Empire into the nation of Turkey.
Known as Kemalism, this method embraces both Modernization and
Westernization and is based on the assumption that modernization is desirable and
necessary. A society must fully Westernize in order to successfully modernize. In
Thailand, it is epitomized by the 1932 change in political systems from an absolute
monarchy to a democratic nation, as well as symbolized by the 1939 change in the
name of the country from Siam to Thailand. Recently, the Chuan Leekpai
administration (1997-2001) has employed this approach to reform the countrys
economic and social systems, but has met with fierce resistance from the Thai
people; resulting in the Democrat party losing the 2001 general election.
The third response is a Reformist approach. Since Isolationism, a form of
Rejectionism, is not pragmatic in the increasingly interconnected world, and total
submersion using Kemalism is undesirable for a native population, a compromise
appears to be the most logical way. The Reformist approach strategy has been the
most popular alternative for the non-Westem ruling elite to cope with Western
encroachment. In Siam, King Rama IV (Mongkut 1851-1868) initiated a path
of reformation in the 1850s. His cardinal principle was to be selectively
Westernized in order to be Modem and, by the same token, engaged in
Modernization by a careful adoption of Western concepts, practices, institutions,
36


knowledge and culture. Mongkuts successor, King Rama V (Chalalongkom 1868-
1910), instructed his servants to learn from the West, but to use Siamese traditions
as their guide, and so, make Western techniques compatible with the Siamese
spirit.
However, Modernization without excessive cultural Westernization proved to be
elusive. Post-1932 administrations, especially the Pibul government (1938-1944)
believed that Modernization could only be accomplished through cultural
Westernization. This resulted in the quest for a national culture manifested by the
production of its cultural artifacts. Yet, as stated earlier, evidence from the 19th-
20th century hybrid Siamese-European and Modem architecture suggest otherwise
(diagram 1-3). The claim that Thailand is able to Modernize without Westernizing
becomes questionable.
The relationship among Rejectionism, Kemalism and Reformism can be described
as follows. Rejectionism opposes both Modernization and Westernization, while
Kemalism embraces both, believing that Westernization is mandatory for
Modernization to occur. Reformism counters that Modernization can be reached
through limited Westernization. Hence, there are disagreements between
Rejectionism and Kemalism on the desirability of Modernization and
Westernization, as well as between Kemalism and Reformism on the question of
Modernization without Westernization.5
In any case, it is undeniable that Westernization and Modernization are closely
associated with one another. While specifies vary, a Modernization process often
takes the following general form. Initially, a non-Westem culture adopts and/or
assimilates Western cultural elements and slowly progresses toward
Modernization. Yet, as Modernization takes a faster pace, Westernization slows
down, which prompts a revival of the indigenous culture. Ironically, the more
Modernization advances, the deeper native people become determined to preserve
their culture.6
Based on Huntingtons model, it can be argued that Thailand has gone through all
these phases. During the reigns of King Rama IV-VI (1851-1925), Westernization
promoted Modernization. The situation reached its zenith in 1932 by abolishing a
thousand-year-old tradition of absolute monarchy. Afterwards, Modernization
advanced by a process of de-Westemization and pro-Siamization, which reached
its peak shortly after the 1997 economic crisis.
At the social level, modernization enhances economic, military,
and political power of the society as a whole and encourages the
37


people of that society to have confidence in their culture and to
become culturally assertive. At the individual level, modernization
generates feelings of alienation and anomie as traditional bonds and
social relations are broken and leads to crisis of identity.7
Tom between these two polarities, Thailands stmggle in finding its national and
cultural identity hasby means of appropriation and digressionproduced hybrid
cultural artifacts. In architecture, this has been executed through the Westernizing
of Siamese architecture in conjunction with the Siamizing of Western and Modem
architecture.
To reiterate, Modernization does not necessarily mean Westernization. Non-
Western societies have introduced Modernity into their culture without
indiscriminately adopting Western values, institutions, knowledge and practice,
whether scientific, technological, political, social, or cultural. The Kemalist
assertion that non-Westem societies must Westernize in order to be Modem is,
thereby, an unproven proposition. The transformation of Siam to Thailand serves
as a good example. Nonetheless, achieving Modernity does require some degree
of Westernization, particularly in the case of Reformism. The focus here,
therefore, is on the extent of Westernization required in order to be Modem. For
that reason, instead of asking is it possible to be Modem without being
Western?,perhaps the question that Power, Identity and the Rise of Modern
Architecture: from Siam to Thailand should address is: to what degree is
Westernization necessary to achieve Modernity? as well as how Westernized
must Thai society and culture be in order to successfully Modernize? Examining
these questions involves the knowledge gained from a review of the following
literature:8
The Coexistence of Different Concepts and Interpretations
Modem Architecture
The Historiography of Modem Architecture. After a review of articles
published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Marvin
Trachtenberg (1988)9 argued that scholars are no longer content to know only the
statistical facts of the objects in their investigations. They want to leam about the
processes that brought the statistics into being and that underlie and structure their
relationship with context. They also strive to understand meanings and the
structure of meanings in architecture through the study of Semiology.
38


Trachtenberg proposes five areas of investigation for architecture history:
architects, single building monographs, building types, styles and periods, and
theory and criticism. Investigating Western architecture in Siam and Modem
architecture in Thailand encompasses the fourth and fifth areas.10
In the Historiography of Modern Architecture (1999), Panayotis Toumikiotis
examines a group of books by influential historians of the 20th century.11 The
author draws on concepts from critical theory, relating architecture to broader
historical models. The author follows Michel Foucaults method of treating a
historical study as a discursive practice that systematically forms the objects of
which it speaks. His chapters contain significant remarks on the methods used in
establishing the historiography of Modem architecture, including those of
Nikolaus Pevsner, Emil Kaufmann, Siegfried Giedion, Bruno Zevi, Leonardo
Benevolo, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Peter Collin, Reyner Banham and Manfredo
Tafuri.
Despite its comprehensiveness on the subject of investigation, Toumikiotis study
contains problems as well. One of the underlying themes that resurfaces
throughout the book is the connection he attempts to make between Conrad
Fiedler's notion of visibility, Heinrich Wolfflins formalism, and Siegfried Giedion
and Nikolaus Pevsners concept of the purely visible perception. This connection
is difficult to accept, and even less convincing when he states that Erwin Panofsky
later neutralizes psycho-physiological or subjective judgment by shifting the
historical focus from appearance to content.
Nonetheless, Toumikiotis Historiography of Modern Architecture provides a
useful model for applying methods other than stylistic and formal analyses to
historical research in architecture. He also embraces the intellectual spirit of the
late 20th century: specifically Post-modem theories. The theories contend that
there is no history but only a number of narratives, and that every text is always a
double-text; each of these multiple narratives conceals within it a vision of the
future to which their writers do not admit. The author asserts that there is not a
single Modernist historian who has ever operated from the premise that a subject
(the historian) simply records an object (reality).
The History of Modem Architecture. In spite of a large collection of
scholarly inquiries in this area, only two books occupy a central role for studying
Western architecture in Siam and Modem architecture in Thailand. Originally
written in 1896, Banister Fletchers a History of Architecture (1987) provides a
general source book for the worlds architecture.12 Fletcher has, for decades,
39


served as the principal textual material for studying architecture history, in
virtually all schools of architecture in Thailand. The author is a classic example of
historians who conduct their research by addressing questions such as the what,
which, when, where, who, by whom, and how in great detail.13
Fletchers research has had a profound impact on the study of the history of
Modem architecture in Thailand. His book also supplies the canon of buildings,
which Thai architects and students alike examine, admire, or even copy. His
methodology influences many academic investigations of Thai scholars as well.14
Fletcher organizes his chapters according to places (countries), time (periods), and
artistic movements (formal analyses and styles). Although he includes non-
Westem architecture, the author imposes a Western hegemony upon his
investigation. Similarly to Edward Saids discourse of Orientalism (1978),15 in
establishing the difference between the Oriental and Occidental cultures, non-
Westem buildings are analyzed by Western terms and criteria, and then
incorporated into a Euro-centric tradition.16
In recent years, Kenneth Framptons Modern Architecture (1992)17 instigated a
change in the way Modem architectural history is studied worldwide, which was
also echoed in key literature on Thai art and architecture.18 By bringing together
architectural history, theory and criticism, he views history as a movement with
constant links between past and future similar to the Hermeneutics mode of
interpretation.
Frampton (1992) contributes a valuable application to the research of architecture
history, theory, and criticism: a model of taking a single architect or group and
evaluating the works as a result of particular socio-economic circumstances.19 He
states that architecture is not merely the consequence of a series of formal
decisions, but signifies deeper issues. By investigating the interplay between
material and culture, a better understanding of architectural meanings arise.
On a final note, in his interpretations on the history of Modem architecture,
Frampton adopts Martin Heideggers position that building, dwelling, cultivating
and being were once inseparable.20 Nevertheless, he sees this ideal changing and
gradually being replaced by the pure functionalism of Modernism, which is
conditioned to optimize the benefits of industrial technology. On that basis,
Frampton concludes that the prospect of creating significant urban form today has
become extremely limited.21
40


Theories. One of the most influential writings on the history and theory of
Modem architecture is Siegfried Giedions Space, Time, and Architecture
(1976),22 initially published in 1941.23 As an analyst of the Bauhaus movement,
this book influenced a number of prominent architects, historians, and educators
who were trained in the U.S. by the Bauhausers during and after the 1940s.
Although hopelessly obsolete by todays standards, earlier generations of Thai
architects regarded Giedions writings as the essentially Bible for professional
practice.
The dominating theme in Giedions work is the Hegelian concept of Zeitgeist, or
spirit of the age. The author applies what he considers the fundamental nature of
his time to judge cultural artifacts, including art and architecture.24 Giedion treats
architecture as an organism growing along a fundamental axis of development in
which a priori historical goal is the spirit of his period. He studies the past in order
to vindicate the present, and if possible to predict the future. For him, history is a
manifesto, which is only pertinent inasmuch as it leads to the present state of
affairs.25
Giedion is credited for offering Thai scholars justification for the government to
promote Modem architecture as the progressive future.26 His writings also earned
him recognition for bringing the studies of architectural history, theory and
criticism together. By alluding to science and technology, Giedion depicts the
spirit of his age as a belief in rational thinking and the scientific method of
investigation.
Giedion believes that both artistic creativity and development are subjected to
general laws intrinsic or even transcendent to art. Sokratis Georgiadis (1993)
asserts that Giedion, similar to Giorgio Vasari (1568)27 and Johann Wincklemann
(1764),28 sees architecture as a development from lower to higher forms: a process
of birth, maturation and degeneration, or a cycle of repetition of polar opposites,
reaching its culmination in each of their own times.29 Conceptually, in addressing
buildings of the past, Giedion uses Modem architecture as a yardstick to judge
their worth. He looks for evidence in the 19th century for the stylistic origins of
the architectural phenomena of the 20th century, namely Modernism. Many
prominent scholars of architecture history, such as Pevsner (1943; 1949)30 and
Kaufmann (1955)31 share this view.
However, some historians and architects question the legitimacy of the Zeitgeist in
conducting historical research. Peter Burke (1997) agues that because the idea of
the Zeitgeist builds upon the postulate of cultural unity or consensus, it implies the
unification of all the cultural products of a particular time thus making them
41


homogenous. This postulate causes many problems. First, the assumption of
cultural unity is not easy to justify. Second, the very term culture has hidden
social and cultural implications. Third, cultural consensus or homogeneity is very
difficult to determine, if it exists at all.32
As a result, the concept of Zeitgeist on which Giedion, Pevsner and Kaufmann
base their theories and methods of writing architectural history is problematic, and
so are those of the Thai Modernists like Krisdakom Ittithepsant, Nart Bhodiprasat
and Ruangsak Kantabutra. In fact, one could argue that the movement known as
Modernism is limited to an elite culture and does not touch the majority of the
population. Hence, the presumption that Modem architecture is the spirit of the
20th century is questionable. It was not until the 1950s that Modem architecture
became dominant, largely because of World War II and its repercussions.
Modernist historians typically conceive their historiographical methods on a mode
of normative thinking that aligns buildings with or against the Zeitgeist. In doing
so, they deprive themselves of broader intellectual opportunities to study
architectural history, because understanding buildings through accepted norms
gives them a limited view. On the contrary, later generations of architectural
historians have begun to study architectural movements/styles in terms of their
relationships to each other. For them, changes in the movements/styles do not
necessarily mean progress toward perfection, or degradation from excellence.
These historians hold that since the movements/styles are culturally produced just
like the objects they describe, they are indeed make-believe things.33
In which case, the writings of Modernist historians could be perceived as
manifestoes to propagandize Modem architecture. However, prejudices often
occur when the Zeitgeist of a period under investigation is identical with the
historian studying that epoch. Giedion, Pevsner and Kaufmann are a case in point.
These historians lived within the spirit of the age that breathed life into Modem
architecture, which they studied through the criteria of their own time imprisoning
them to this very mentality.
Methodology. Literature on the methodology of architectural history is
sparse. Most of its historiography and interpretation methods are supplied by other
disciplines, such as art history, linguistics, literature criticism, social science and
philosophy. In his works on architectural history methods, Robert Mugerauers
Interpretations on Behalf of Place (1994) and Interpreting Environments (1995)
offers different methods of interpreting architecture: the Traditional,
Deconstruction and Hermeneutics.34 Since Deconstruction and Hermeneutics are
42


addressed elsewhere in the review of literature on Cross-cultural studies.35 This
leaves the Traditional method for examination.
The Traditional approach operates on the premise of factuality, objectivity, and
rationalism. It establishes historical facts based on what, which, when, where,
who, by whom, and how inquiries. Also known as the scientific method, or
historicism, this approach acquires knowledge from collecting and studying
information on the material conditions of physical evidence. When conducting
historical research on architecture, besides the buildings themselves, supporting
evidence comes from primary documentse.g., archives, records, drawings,
memoirs, original photographs, autobiographies, travel diaries, legal and
construction documents, letters, symposia, meeting minutes, lectures and
interviewsas well as secondary documentsi.e., scholarly investigations.
Usually, this method is employed for data gathering using archival research.36
Focusing their interpretations on the historical dimensions of the buildings,
scholars use this method to examine what the buildings signify in a descriptive and
objective manner, according to their creators intentions and the contexts in which
they were created. Architectural interpretations, then, depend on how the buildings
represent their origins, and the absolute signification of their meanings.
The Traditional approach contains two analytical modes for investigating the
material conditions of buildings. The first is the formal analysis. Wolfflin (1932;
1964)37 argues that architecture can be understood through the idea of universal
forms, which is a pattern of polarities distinguishing and describing a formal
composition through geometrical relationships. This enables scholars to identify
key distinctions among architecture from different ages, leading to comprehension
of their spatial configurations and architectural meanings.
The second method is the stylistic analysis. According to the conventional
interpretation, the term style serves as a classification for a particular kind of
architecture with identifiable relationships among the features of forms, materials,
ornaments, and construction methods, chronologically organized by the methods
of historicism and historiography. Style also refers to a culmination of certain
vintages of buildings, containing similar descriptions on the exterior articulation of
forms and fa9ades synonymous with fashion and the code of gentility: en
vogue values stress refinement in the making of good taste and connoisseurship.38
The method of stylistic analysis is an invention of 19th century scholars.
Prominent architectural historians such as Johann Wincklemann (1764),39 and
Jacob Burckhardt (1955)40 create data mass, an articulating system for
43


comprehending works of art and architecture. This academic discourse unites
Euro-concentric aesthetics, ethics and social history as one. It functions through a
universally extendable archive, in which all objects of study find their mutual
relationships. In the data mass system very item is cited as a reference or index
of each other in order to operate as an assemblage of material evidence for the
construction/interpretation of historical narratives of social, cultural or cognitive
development.41
Orthodox architectural historians view the concept of style as an architectural
paradigm that contains the full circle of birth, maturity, demise and rebirth. Based
on that normative mode of thinking, style, therefore, is a matrix of characteristics,
theories, shared beliefs, technological improvement, values, and a common
repertoire of design solutions that link the idea of style together. Likewise, the
evolution of style consists of several stages: early, high, late, and revival.
Although the Traditional method is essential for any historical inquiry on
architecture, simply providing interpretations according to any specific label of
architectural movements or styles is unsatisfactory. As a consequence, an
investigation on Western architecture in Siam and Modem architecture in Thailand
must also examine how various architectural ideas have contributed to the physical
designs and spatial configurations for buildings since the 1850s.
Applications of Research in Modem Architecture. The following selected
literature serves as an important reference for investigating the transformation
process of Siam toward Modernity through architecture and its history. The
Association of Siamese Architects (ASA) (1993) provides the official account
on the story of architectural development in Thailand from 1782 to 1989. While
providing a comprehensive and detailed investigation, it limits its information to
chronological accounts structured by a sequence of events. The book Pattana
Naew Kid Lae Roopbab Khong Ngan Satapattayakum: Adeet, Patchuban Lae
Anakot [Development of Contemporary Thai Architecture: Past, Present and
Future] recounts the history of architecture through the master narrative of Thai
history, or the so-called royal-national history. Its authors organize the objects
of study according to: a) the regimes of the monarchs, e.g. King Rama I, II,
III...IX; b) historical events, e.g., the democratic Revolution and World War II
1932-1957, the Vietnam War 1958-1972, the collapse of Indochina 1973-1982,
and the end of the Cold War 1983-1989; c) building types, such as residential,
commercial, and industrial; and d) ownership, i.e., public and private sectors.
They employ the Traditional approach for the researchs histographical method,
together with formal and stylistic analyses.42
44


Although this book provides architectural interpretations in social and economic
dimensions, in addition to leading the way for criticism on cultural identity, it does
not examine the political and cultural signification of the built environment. As a
result, the issues of cultural borrowing, appropriation and transformation, national
identity, the negotiation and allocation of political power, and the natives
resistance and reconciliation to the process of Western colonization that occurred
through the existence of Western architecture in Siam and the rise of Modem
architecture in Thailand are not.
Another important reference widely cited by several Thai historians comes from
Silpa-Satapattayakum Thai: Ittipol Satapattayakum Baep Tawantok [Thai Art and
Architecture: Western Influence] by Choat Kalayanamitr (1982).43 Similar to the
Association of Siamese Architects investigation, the author uses the master
narrative of the royal-national history to relate the history of Thai architecture.
He bases his inquiry on stylistic analysis and focuses his research on the role of
architecture in social and economic development.
Kalayanamitr criticizes contemporary architecture in Thailand, especially
Modernism, for causing a crisis in cultural identity through its emphasis on
abstract composition, sculptural forms, functionalism and Western technology
while neglecting traditional Siamese architectural heritage, historical contexts,
local climate, indigenous materials, and constmction methods.
In Silpa Sakol Nai Siam [International Art in Siam] (1965), No Na Paknam
upholds the tradition of archaeological studies in writing about foreign influences
on Siamese art and architectureone that does not compete with Western
epistemology, but is obviously nationalist in sentiment.44 He identifies all
monumental architecture in Thailand with Thai-speaking people. Although his
method of identification does not depend on stylistic qualities of buildings, it
serves the Thai nationalist government in creating a national identity of the
modem Thai State by lending itself to the royal-national history.45
Unlike No Na Paknam (1965), Kalayanamitr (1982) and The Association of
Siamese Architects (1993), Apinan Poshyanadas Modern Art in Thailand (1992)46
presents multidimensional interpretations of Modem Thai art including
architecture. While still relying on formal and stylistic analyses, and
chronologically classifying individuals and groups of artists into artistic
movements, this book is among the pioneer investigations on Thai art and
architecture that introduces new methods and theories to the native scholars.
Poshyanadas research also serves as a model for applying Deconstruction and
Hermeneutics methods, as well as the Post-modem and Post-colonial theories for
45


data analysis, synthesis and interpretation in studying Western and Modem
architecture in Siam and Thailand.47
Finally, for literature in Modernity and Modernism, Stephen Toulmin recounts the
history of Modernity in Cosmopolis (1990).48 He distinguishes twin traditions, the
two roots of Modernity: the rebirth and re-appropriation (Renaissance humanism),
and the contemporary potentials (Enlightenment rationalism). His book provides a
contextual and conceptual framework for understanding Modernity. It explains
why Modernity has often been equated with the rationalist component of the
tradition that seeks philosophical and theoretical truth as well as universal
certainty, and which is reactive and non-historical. These dispositions give rise to
the formalism and structuralism of the Modernists, notably the Modernism
movement of the Bauhaus.
History of Thailand: 19th 20th Centuries
General References and Background Knowledge. David Streckfuss
(1993)49 asserts that Western colonialismconspicuous by its absenceframed the
writing of Thai history and the countrys self-image. As a result, a study on the
history of Thailand must consider: a) the degree to which Thai Society was
transformed by political and economic forces encroaching on the country from the
outside; and b) the extent to which Thai, or Siamese, society preserved its own
social form from the inside.50 According to Constance Wilson (1978), there are
four typical approaches to research on the history of Thailand. Thai history can be
viewed as, first a:
chronological sequence, one based on periods of cultural growth,
or on kings, dynasites, and important events. Second, Thai history
can be examined through topical and interdisciplinary studies
concerned with such subjects as art, theater, literature, religion,
social structure, or economic change, or such issues as Chinese or
Western influences in Thai life. Third, there is an important
regional element in Thai history, one that deserves special
consideration. And, fourth, a place needs to be made for
comparative studies. None of these four approaches is separate
from any of the other three: each overlaps with the others.51
David Wyatt presents an overview of Thailands history. Widely cited by
scholarly researchers,52 Wyatts Thailand (1982)53 concerns politics; domestic and
46


foreign, dealing primarily with state formation, internal struggles for power, and
external political relations, i.e., trade and warfare. Wyatt views Thai society
through a wide-angle lens, embracing Thai groups and their influence throughout a
geographic area covering the present Cambodia, Laos, and parts of Vietnam and
Burma and, of course, Thailand. As he progresses to the 19th and 20th century,
however, his angle of vision narrows, focusing on Bangkok and the politics of the
Chakri Dynasty (1782-present). The author relies on the official version of Thai
history, as promulgated by their ruling elite: the royal-national history.
Unfortunately this reliance contains many conflicting accounts, and there is little
evidence of a critical appraisal of the 19th and 20th century Thai sources.
Generally, Wyatt recounts the accomplishments of the elite: the monarchy and
aristocrats. However, when examining the history of Thailand after 1932, Wyatt is
magisterial, giving a thoughtful survey of recent events and changing conditions of
the countrys political situations. His historiographical method carefully weighs
contradictory evidence, leading to a critical narration of Modem Thai history,
especially the episode involving the student demonstration that toppled the
military regime in 1973 and its aftermath. Still, the author does not sufficiently
address the economic factors that brought the emergence of the Modem Thai
nation-state. Likewise, in his chapters on 19th century Siam, he did not elaborate
on whydespite remaining uncolonized by the Western powers and despite its
seemingly forward-looking monarchythe Thai economy remained essentially
underdeveloped and agrarian.
Wyatts research provides contextual and background knowledge, upon which the
investigation into the creation of Thai cultural artifacts rests. The themes that
recur throughout the book are the growth and expansion of the state, the rulers
efforts to institutionalize their authority during this process, as well as the
opportunities and threats the international environment provided these rulers. His
discussions on King Rama Vis concept of the Thai nation, Pibuls vision of
nationalism, and Thanarats revival of traditional Siamese values to promote
stability and economic growth and maintain his authority, provide the foundation
for investigating nationalistic architectural expression in Modem Thai architecture.
Charles Keyes contributes a comprehensive survey of Thai history; Not only does
he succinctly describe the country and society in general, but also raises several
interesting issues. Cited by a number of academic studies,54 his book, Thailand
(1987),55 deals with the theme of political continuity and change. Like Wyatt
(1982),56 the author traces the origin of the modem Thai polity to the founding of
the kingdoms of Siam in the 14th century. Nevertheless, Keyes differs from Wyatt
in seeing the consolidation of two major pillars of todays political structure: the
47


Thai monarchy and Hinayana Buddhism. He argues that the religion provides
legitimacy for both the political system and the throne.
In examining the construction of the Thai national identity, Keyes delivers insights
into the ways in which the Thai ruling elite created out of ethnic diversity a
cultural unity and consensus based on: a) the reverence for the sovereign as a
national symbol; b) the recognition of Buddhism as the national religion in a
context of tolerance of other faiths; and c) the deliberate fostering of standard
Thai (Siamese or the Central Thai from the Chao Praya River basin) as the
countrys lingua franca. With respect to Western colonization, Keyes gives an
erudite account of Thailands success in retaining and incorporating traditional
values and institutions to create a modem nation-state and maintain its
independence. He further explains the roles of the military in politics for
determining what is good for the nation. However, his chapters from the 1950s to
1970s do not cover the rural insurgency or urban mass movements, or the role and
influence of the U.S. in the politics of Thailand during this period.
The main criticism of Keyes is that his research avoids discussing the
historiography of Thailand. For instance, it largely ignores questions such as
where did the formation of the Thai national state happen? In what sense is 1932
justified as a benchmark date? How much credibility must be given to the terms
nation and state constructed by various reigns and regimes from 1850 to
1980? Keyes conclusion that the social changes taking place in Thailand did not
erode the traditional role of the monarchy, the ideological dominance of Hinayana
Buddhism, or the unifying function of the standard Thai language is skeptical. It
then calls into question that Thailands cohesion as a nation despite great diversity
is not as solid as it seems.
Benedict Anderson takes a further look at the topics of identity and nationalism in
South-east Asia. His inquiry in the Spectre of Comparisons (1998)57 is based on
earlier research from 1983, Imagined Communities, which is widely regarded as
one of the finest theoretical and historical studies of nationalism and colonialism.
Andersons investigation possesses three strong general themes, although the case
studies in each theme are not necessarily on Thailand. The first theme emphasizes
the role of mass media, notably newspapers, and the role of consensus in
developing national and political consciousness. The second, and perhaps most
relevant theme for a study on the national identity of Thailand, dwells on the
creation of nationalist cultural artifacts such as monuments and cemeteries. The
third theme is long-distance nationalism, or patriotism in exile.
48


Andersons most novel perspective on nationalism is his focus on the role of the
dead and the unborn. In his account, entire populations are exhorted to behave like
good citizens, to honor the dead who build their country and sacrifice themselves
for it, as well as to create a future for unborn generations. This notion relates to
Thongchai Winichakul (1994)59 in asserting that the myth of Thainess is a
concept that links the past, present and future generations together, creating the
sense of belonging among Thai citizens.
Theories and Methods. Thongchai Winichakul revolutionized the field of
Thai studies. His book Siam Mapped (1994)60 stands at the intersection of critical
theory and historiography. The author studies nationalism via Post-modern theory
and discourse analyses in terms of criticism on a linear, evolutionary history, and
the development of space in opposition to historical time. He interlaces those
analyses with Post-colonial studies of a former Western colony that reproduces the
colonizers ideological structure of dominationthe Enlightenment discourse of
Modernity (Rationalism) and history of linear progressin achieving the status of a
modem nation-state.61
His methodology is conducted by examining maps and mapping processes.
Winichakul recounts a history of nationhood that began when modem geography
met with traditional Siamese concepts of space and sovereignty. He explores how
the agents of the British, French, and Siamese empires competed to control lands,
as well as consolidate and legitimize their authority. Once Winichakul dismantles
the construction of Thai nationhood, a web of conventions and truisms about the
history of the nation along with its prescriptions for national and cultural identity
the myth of Thainesscollapses.62 The so-called native point of view in the
writing of Thai history turns out to be the nationalistic viewpointthe royal-
national history story lineserving the interests of the mling elite instead of
telling the countrys history as it happened.
It appears that a theory of discourse drives Winichakuls investigation, but his
discourse is neither discursive nor negotiated. Rather, the book employs a
hegemonic monologue where the text or map becomes the truth. This occurs
through the semiotic theory, which reduces history to its representation.63 Here,
the representation, the map itself, is explained by the technology of mapping. The
author, then, combines Post-modem literary analysis with Modernitys
technological determinism. While he is faithful to Enlightenment concepts of
science, technology and rationality, he displays that reason is also arbitrarily
applied via Post-modem theory. As a result, when modem geography meets
native knowledge, it displaces the old custom. Although this development does
49


not mean that the new is better than the old, it is considerably stronger. Such a
change is inevitable, total, and unconditional.
Winichakuls unique contribution is the idea of geo-body. It is a construction,
different from the actual historical entities that occupy the space of todays
Thailand, not just in their geographical shape and extent but, more importantly, in
the nature of their conceptions of space and sovereignty. This notion makes
claims to cohesiveness of areas, people, and cultures that are in fact historically
unverifiable, because those people do not associate sovereignty with territorial
boundaries and bounded-ness. The author suggests that the geo-body creates the
fetishism of nationhood; in order to have a nation, its boundary must be first
specified and located. The notion becomes naturalized, and is endowed with
primordial sentimentblood and soil. Eventually, the map itself becomes a meta-
sign bearing meanings of its own without further reference to the nations
territoriality; thus generating meanings and values beyond its origin. By
associating the map with political agendas, such as anti-Western colonization or
democracy, the geo-body is re-empowered.
Correspondingly, perhaps the most significant power of the geo-body is its ability
to write its own history both in academic and in popular accounts. Traditionally,
Siam did not have a concept of territory, but it did recognize tributary rights, such
as overlordship. However, geo-body history rejects this point of view, instead
believing that territoriality requires a different form of control. In effect, geo-body
history renders all those who had been at the peripheries, the margins, or outside
the regional domain of historical states, as historical property of the nation-state,
and thus under its direct rule. In sum, the new history of the Thai nation-state is
indeed the history of Bangkoks expansion and colonization of Thailand itself in
competition with the European powers.
Nonetheless, Winichakuls notion of geo-body is problematic. If the geo-body
replaces the traditional concept of space, then why has Bangkoks dominance
never dimmed? Does this imply that since the discourse changes so abruptly,
reality fails to follow it? These unresolved questions lead to studying the process
of changenot in terms of displacement but appropriation and adaptationwhich
brings attention to the concepts of hybrid, hybridity, and hybridization.64
Aside from providing historical background knowledge, historiographical analysis,
theories and methods, Winichakuls idea of a geo-body serves as a valuable
example for recounting the history of Thailand through its cultural artifacts, in his
case: maps. His method of examining the written history of the nation through the
production of maps lends itself well to an investigation of the transformation
50


process of Siam toward Modernity, reflected by the creation of Western
architecture in Siam and the rise of Modem architecture in Thailand. Analogous
to the maps, the technological, monographic and symbolic programs of Western
and Modem constmction signify the identity to which the country aspires. They
encourage the constmction of a nation-state, the resistance to and reconciliation
with Western colonization, and the Siameses own colonial process.
Penny Van Esteriks Materializing Thailand (2000)65 gives a synthesis of works
on Thai ethnography in studying gender meanings and relations. Based on
Feminist Theory and methods of Deconstruction, Van Esterik addresses numerous
topics from ancient Buddhist texts and discusses state politics in a wide range of
gender expressions in contemporary Thai popular culture. Her book reflects upon
the constmction of national identity as well. She makes connections between the
importance of gender meanings and ideological practice for the constituents of the
contemporary Thai nation-state and dominant idioms of national identity.
Similar to Anderson (1998)66, Van Esterik provides insightful explanations on the
social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of Thai history during the
latter half of the 20th century.67 Her most crucial contribution is that she offers a
methodological model for representing and explaining a socio-cultural
phenomenon through a metaphor of cultural artifacts with a human body. Van
Esteriks method seems to relate to the theory of Empathy. In the context of the
so-called Kunstwollen by Alois Riegl, appreciating cultural artifacts arises from
human sensitivity, not just rationality, by means of passionately equating artistic
composition to anthropomorphic form.68 This concept fits well with the Thai
custom of assigning values hierarchically to different parts of human anatomy.
Such a belief recognizes the head as the most revered and auspicious part of the
body, e.g., headdresses characterize the wearers socio-economic status, while the
feet are the least propitious parts of the body.69
Applications of Research in the History of Thailand. In his study on the
history of Thai architecture, Clarence Aasen pieces together knowledge from three
fields of study: Modem architecture, the History of Thailand: 19th-20th Centuries,
and Cross-cultural Studies. In Architecture of Siam (1998),70 the author identifies
the roles that architecture has played over the last fifteen centuries in the
constmction of Siamese culture. Through a combination of written and visual
content, as well as contemporary theoretical analysis, his research offers one of the
most comprehensive, critical and challenging interpretations of Thai architecture.
51


The premise of the book concerns itself with aesthetics, power, agency, places, and
cultural artifacts, in historical and cultural contexts. Aasen disputes that
architecture has been among the more generic, primordial and empowering
phenomena of Siamese culture. He also challenges the notion of architecture as a
pure cultural product by playing the quest for authenticity, indigenous creative
genius and the production of local distinctiveness against foreign influences and
appropriations, as well as homogenizing forces like Universalism and
Modernism.71 The author further insists that the hybrid and multivalent qualities
of Siamese architecture offer aesthetically rich and refined artistic creations,.
performing an essential role in the construction of Siamese culture.
Obviously, his theoretical and methodological approach is grounded in linguistic
theories. Similar to language, he says, architecture has both a semantic and a
syntactic dimension. In fact, the production and consumption of architecture
involves discursive processes of conceptualizing, making and inhabiting that play
integral and significant roles in developing a culture.72 They also portray the
contingent and unpredictable characteristic of culture. For that reason, the author
concentrates on understanding how these processes work in the cultural and
historical context of Siam and Thailand, along with the analyses of those
production and consumption processes that produce critical discourse and social
empowerment in multiple dimensionssocial, political and economic.
The strength of Aasens study lies in his interpretation of architecture where
conditions of cultural diversity begin to come together. He emphasizes that, under
such circumstances, Siamese cultural artifacts must be seen as objects of
construction and strategy, which are: a) located in diverse cultural and social
fields; b) invested with particular power relations; and c) carried out by particular
agents. The author asserts that cultural artifacts obviously have functioned as
more than utilitarian devices, but also as a discourse of political, social and
economic signification/manifestation. Although it is undeniable that Aasen
contributes important foundational knowledge, together with applications for
theories and methods of studying Western architecture in Siam and Modem
architecture in Thailand, there are still some critical remarks to be made on his
research.
First, Aasens study covers approximately a seven-thousand-year span. Hence, his
book is more of a survey on the history of Thai architecture, rather than a more in-
depth monograph on specific periods or topics. For example, the author does not
address the topic of cultural exchange between Siam and the West during the
Bangkok period in terms of an in-depth investigation.
52


Second, Aasen structures the history of Thailand through a linear chronological
framework of capital cities, political reigns and regimes. Although this master
narrative method offers a practical way for ordering events, as well as classifying
and identifying cultural artifacts, it has limitations. These limitations include
supplying a relatively limited field of vision for a historical inquiry and difficulty
in drawing-relationships among the cultural artifacts of different eras, because
doing so undermines the hierarchy of its linear temporal structure.73
Third, while Aasens research touches upon the subject of cultural hybridity, the
author does not regard it as a main theme in his investigation. He develops his
interpretations on Thai architecture using different theoretical platforms from Post-
colonial theories. Hence, his contribution lies principally in supplying a general
reference on the history of Thai cultural artifacts rather than being a theoretical or
methodological model for an investigation on the transformation process of Siam
toward Modernity through architecture.
Cross-cultural Studies
Post-colonial Theories. By using the concepts of hybrid, hybridity, and
hybridization as a point of departure, Cross-cultural Studies, particularly through
the lens of Post-colonial theories, lays the groundwork for studying the
transformation of Siam towards Modernity by examining its hybridized
architecture. Cross-cultural Studies is a diverse and evolving field; one
theoretical/philosophical stance may contradict others ones. Yet, a significant
amount of literature pertains to the investigation of Western architecture existing
in Siam and the rise of Modem architecture in Thailand.
Regarding the topic of colonization, Gayatri Spivak uncovers instances of double-
oppressed native people: the so-called Subaltern, caught between the domination
of a native patriarchy and a foreign-imperialist ideology. What Spivak means by
Subaltern in her article Can the Subaltern Speak? (1985)74 is that both the
oppressed and marginalized male and female, whose voices are deprived by so-
called imperial epistemic violence, are historically muted subjects. The story of
colonialism, which she reconstructs, is based on an interactive process in which
the European agent consolidating the imperialist Sovereign Self, induces the
indigenous people to collude in their own subjected formation as Other and
voiceless.75
53


Spivaks assertion has application to the situation in Siam during the 19th and 20th
centuries. The kings and the ruling elite were the Europeans agents, while
ordinary people were the Subaltern. The agents constructed their own world, and
legitimized their place in that world by developing a narrative of fabricated
historical facts, excluding what did not fit into the framework of that history.
Many historically controversial recordsnotably those in the royal archives, or
government recordsare a case in point. Examples include the allegedly romantic
affair of King Mongkut with Ms. Leonowens: the so-called Anna and the King
saga,76 the death of King Rama VIII, and the bloody Uprisings of 1973 and 1992,
as well as the student Massacre of 1976.77
Moreover, in order to retain their power as a go-between with the foreigners and
the indigenous people, the agents adopted the affectations of the West and thereby
elevated themselves to the status of Master, while alienating the native people as
the Other. Using a strategy of distinction, the agents accepted, imported,
assimilated, mimicked and produced all kinds of European cultural artifacts, e.g.,
paintings, sculptures, architecture, and costumes, to demonstrate their
sophisticated taste, educated mentality, and manner, to proclaim their superiority
over indigenous Siamese. The diagram below illustrates a dynamic stratification
grid describing colonial social production:
Maximum
A
1.
2.
3.
Dominant foreign groups (the European colonial powers).
Dominant indigenous groups on the overall level
(the monarchy and the ruling elite).
Dominant indigenous groups at the regional and local levels
(the aristocrats and local forces).
/>- Elite
Antre
The terms people and subaltern classes used as synonyms throughout the party.
The social groups and elements in this category represent the demographic difference
between the total population and all those described as the elite.
Pi @
§ o
o Q
eu
Minimum
Diagram 2-1 Spivaks Dynamic Stratification Grid describing Colonial Production
In Dissemination (1981),78 Jacques Derrida calls the dividing line between the
powerful and the subalternthe space between the third and fourth items~antre
phenomenon. Ranajit Guha (1982)79 describes Derridas antre as the relationships
among the main dominant groups, the buffer group, and the people:
...this category was heterogeneous in its composition and thanks
to the uneven character of regional economic and social
developments, different from area to area. The same class or
54


element which was dominant in one area...could be among the
dominated in another. This could and did create many ambiguities
and contradictions in attitudes and alliances, especially among the
lowest strata of the rural gentry, impoverished landlords, rich
peasants and upper middle class peasants all of whom belong,
ideally speaking, to the category of people or subaltern class.80
Nonetheless, the issue of the Subalterns voiceless-ness is problematic. One can
contest that, actually, the Subaltern did speak, for instance through hybrid cultural
artifacts, obviously in architecture. An example of this in Thailand is the Chakri
Maha Prasat Throne Hall, whose European body is crowned by three traditional
Siamese spires and tiered roofs. Unmistakably, the epistemic violence of the
imperial process, together with its discursive negotiation of power, did not
eliminate resistance from the local people.
The previous argument leads to another philosophical/theoretical position by Homi
Bhabha, whose work brings attention to how the master discourse is interrogated
by the native in their own voice. In Difference, Discrimination and Discourse of
Colonialism (1983) and Signs Taken for Wonders (1995),81 Bhabha maintains that
the Subaltern has spoken of the colonial process, and that process must be
uncovered, not entirely discarded as held by Spivak. In his view, the self-
colonization of the indigenous, who meet the requirements of the colonialist
address, is co-extensive with the evasions and the so-called sly-civility through
which the native refuses to satisfy the demand of the colonizers narrative.
Consequently, such a concept develops a problematizing mode for the colonial
discourse in the postulate of hybridization. In other words, dissimilarities in the
critical practice between Spivak and Bhabha are: a) submersion into a shared
program marked by appropriation of discourse; b) disregard for enabling socio-
economic and political institutions; and c) other forms of social praxis. While the
former believes that the epistemic violence of the imperialists left the native people
without a way to voice confrontational expressions, the latter thinks that the
devices and contrivances to which the indigenous resortedwhich is in itself a
mutation of the Euro-centric modeldestabilized the effectiveness of the colonial
mother culture.82
In this regard, Bhabha contends that through the use of mimicry, parody, irony,
and allegory, the indigenous rewrote, reinterpreted, rearranged and recreated,
instead of mindlessly copying, the colonialists original cultural artifacts to suit
their ends. The result was hybrids, which are qualitatively different from the
European prototypes as thing-in-itself, where misreading and incongruity expose
the uncertainty and ambivalence of the imperial process, and then deny it an
55


authorizing presence. Thus, to understand the requirements of a hybrid in colonial
context, an alternate set of questions, techniques and strategies, other than the
Western model, is necessary to construct a framework for comprehension.
Bhabhas theory that the subalterns have a voice is supported by Thai natives
coupling their own system of cultural meanings with foreign architectural styles.
The displacement of meanings and grammar in colonial English is similar to the
displacement of meanings in architectural interpretation. This displacement
generated a perverted signification of the Throne Hall to the Thais, like broken
English did to their users. These hybridsalthough seemingly kitsch to Western
eyescan circumvent, challenge, and at the same time refuse subjugation to
colonial authority, from what appears to be unskilled attempts to mimic European
models. Bhabhas thesis has a profound effect in repositioning the traditional anti-
colonization movement from that of an antagonistic force locked in a struggle
from outside the colonial process to that of a configuration of a discursive practice
by means of creating hybridity from within.
While Bhabhas theoretical position on Western colonial discourse is original and
commanding, his notion of hybridity is problematic. To use an analogy of tap and
rhizome roots, Bubbhas theory falls into the tap category, in which a hybrid is a
direct result from two original entities. In reality, the hybridity of Thai
architecture since the 1850s appears in the category of rhizome that embodies
many roots with no tap, but is composed of many rhizomes holding together. Each
root in itself, such as the European architectural style, is also a hybrid not an
original. The Charki Maha Prasat Throne Hall serves as an appropriate example.
While the plan is a synthesis of the Neo-classical, the elevations are an amalgam of
the Renaissance. Likewise, the Siamese architectural components in the building
are not entirely based on one predominant tradition, but of various cultural
heritages from different regions in the country. For instance, although its
superstructure employs the central style, the throne comes from the southern
tradition, while the interior decoration incorporates many features from the
northern and north-eastern regions, especially from Lanna and Khmer Empires.
Consequently, the Throne Hall is a fragmentary composition, having multi-levels
of cultural hybridity, whose complexity surpasses Bhabhas model.
Moreover, the relationship between the West and Siam does not necessarily follow
the British and Indian model of oppressor/victim, as depicted by Bhabha, but
rather happens as a sort of collaboration. Winichakul (1994)83 explains this
process as crypto-colonization, or indirect rule where Siam colluded, if not
fought, with the European powers to gain control over Laos, Cambodia, and the
Malay peninsular.84
56


Frantz Fanon contributes another theoretical foundation to the study of Western
and anti-Western colonization processes. His interrogation of European power in
the Wretch of the Earth (1965) and On National Culture and the Pitfalls of
National Consciousness (1995)85 describes a process of cultural resistance and
disruption by indigenous people. Fanons analysis and interpretation occurs in the
context of two opposite discourses intertwining with each other: the colonized and
the colonizer.
He defines the colonized as the oppressed people fighting against the colonizer
with the adopted tools of the colonizer, e.g., modern technology, language,
Western culture, etc.86 However, the colonized do not adopted these tools
wholeheartedly, but rather modify them to meet their own goals. Through these
actions, a new public and national consciousness of self-image and identity is
created. In contrast, Fanon asserts, the colonizer imposes itself onto the colonized,
degrading the colonizeds sense of self.
What Fanon implies by his juxtaposition of nationalisam with the view of culture
as a political struggle helps describe the nature of colonial conflicts, and provides a
way of criticizing political, and socio-cultural values, including aesthetics,
ascribed to the unity or totality of the Euro-centric culture.87 Nevertheless,
Fanons position is questionable when dealing with dismantling the history of a
nation like Thailand that has not known a long and tyrannical domination by the
West. Since a culture is neither unitary in itself, nor simply dualistic in relation of
Self to Other, the relationships between a signified and signifier of Self and Other
are not fixed, but evolving. As a result, a signified can become a signifier and vice
versa.
Still, interpreting Thai cultural artifacts, especially those created after the 1932
Revolution enjoys considerable benefits from Fanons interpretation. Following
his line of thinking, the nationalist government established the national culture, of
which architecture is an instrument, to negate misconceptions of the inferiority of
traditional Siamese culture. The government purported that the past is not a source
of shame, but rather a source of glory, dignity and solemnity that must be revived
and reinstated. To accomplish their goals, they revalidated the past, glorified their
own creation of a nation-state, and justified their rewriting of history.
At the same time, the Thai nationalist government denies Western cultural
influence. They assert that although colonialism failed, it desired to hold Thai
people in its grip by attacking, devaluing, and distorting the past of Siam in order
to destroy the nation of Thailand. With this reasoning, the government had its
basis for institutionalizing the national culture.88 Although Thailand escaped a
57


physical occupation by the West, it faced a more difficult task: that of overcoming
cultural and intellectual colonization.
Yet, a new and eclectic, albeit syncretic, national identity of Thailand did emerge.
The cultural identity of the modem nation of Siambased on the triad values of
nation, religion, and monarchy (and to some extent standard Thai language)is
Western and Modem oriented. This identity, too, retains conservative and
traditional values at its core. While the process of globalizing forces draws the
nation and its people, as well as events onto the world stage, localizing forces
reify, exoticize, and turn Thai culture against global culture.89 The interaction
between the surface exoticism of locality and global transnational process
generates the paradox to which the Thai cultural artifacts since the 1850s have
demonstrated. Known as the essence of Siam or Thainess, such a play is an
epitome of well-developed cultural strategies to construct and maintain national
identity through the displays and representations of material conditions.90
Reconstruction of the national and cultural identity undeniably has occupied a
prominent role in the nation-building program in 19th and 20th century Thai art and
architecture. Nevertheless, skepticism can arise when evaluating the success of
this reconstmction. Like other countries, the Thai paid more attention to
perception (what they want/do not want to be) than to reality (what they actually
are). Although it may look as if Thai people were able to synthesize their new
identity: a hybrid between a Modernized and Westernized nation and an ancien
regime, that characteristic is superficial. The nationalist government created the
myth of Thainess to prevent Thai people from realizing this and to make them
believe that assuming such an identity reflects a successfully developing the
country.91
Fanon (1995)92 also warns about how powerful groups in society can manipulate
the creation of a national culture to serve themselves. For Thailand, the national
culture and the myth of Thainess are a collaborative project between the elite and
middle class. Preaching nationalistic sentiment against Western colonization also
functions as an extension of the colonial process, in the domestic dimension within
the hierarchical social strata.93
Culturally, the collaboration between the elite and middle class can be seen in the
aesthetic values of Thai artistic and architectural creations since the 1932
Revolution, as well as the historiography of its art and architecture. Many
government agencies, such as the Department of Fine Arts and the Art Academy,
took responsibility for the codification and bureaucratization of cultural artifacts.
Occurring in conjunction with establishing the identity of the nation, it resulted in
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the national culture of Thailand, overseen by the Bureau of Public Relations and
the Minister of Education.94 Regardless of which military faction rose to power,
their socio-political strategy was the same: the nationalistic program expressed in
the designs of government, public, and civic structures.
Fanons approach relates to Edward Saids Orientalism (1978),95 affirming that
what has been perceived as the Orient is a European invention. Orientalism
helps to define Europe and the West by contrasting images, ideas, personalities
and experiences. Yet, there is a clear difference between Fanon and Said. The
former offers the East looking toward the West perspective, while the latter the
West looking toward the East. According to Said, the Orient is an integral part of
and parallel to European material civilization and culturethe Occident.
Correspondingly, Orientalism expresses and represents that fundamental part of
the Occident culturally and ideologically as a mode of discourse with supporting
institutions, vocabularies, scholarship, imagery, doctrines and even colonial
bureaucracy and government.96
However, Said cautions that it would be wrong to perceive that the Orient, of
which Siam is a geographical part, has existed as essentially a concept that has no
connection to reality. In other words, believing that the Orient was created and/or
existed merely as a necessity of ideology is misleading. On the contrary, the study
of Orientalism deals primarily with the internal consistency of Orientalismas a
discourseand its ideas about the Orient, rather than with the correspondence
between Orientalismas a disciplineand the physical reality of the Orient.
Moreover, Said maintains that understanding what Orientalism is about depends
on contexts of cultural, ideological, and historical forces, together with their
configuration of power. The relationship between the Orient and the Occident is,
therefore, the dialogue of power negotiation and domination with various degrees
of complex hegemony and hierarchy. Nonetheless, he argues that the structure of
Orientalism is not the structure of lies or myth. Instead, the discourse of
Orientalism offers a valuable method of comprehending how the Euro-centric
culture asserted its power over the Orient.
In the theoretical stance of Fanon and Said, the native initially contests the
hegemony of the colonizers culture and culminates the subversion or rejection of
the colonizers signifying system. Thus, examples of royal and government
buildings in Thailand, such as the Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall and the
standard design for the provincial headquarters, manifest a lack of harmony
between the Westem/Modem and the traditional Siamese architecture. These
edifices not only exemplify the conflict between the colonization and anti-
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colonization process, but also present the cultural and national identity that the
country aspires to assume.
Post-modern Theories. Dismantling the hegemony of Euro-centric
axiology and epistemology associates Post-colonial theories with Post-modem
theories whose aim is to dissemble the orthodoxy of Modem epistemology: the
dualism of Self and Otherthe centralized, logo-centric, master-narrative authority
of Modernity that is also a product of Western civilization. Post-modem theories,
therefore, supply an operative discourse to examine the historiography of Thai
architecture since the 1850s, which is the method of Deconstruction: a subversive
strategy to bring what has been hidden, disapproved and neglected to light.97
Deconstruction is applicable for investigating the dialogue of power, especially
self-image, as well as the national and cultural identity between the Siamese and
Western cultures embedded in the designs of Thai architecture from the 1850s to
the present. This method also benefits architectural interpretation and criticism by
disclosing the stmctures of architectural meanings, along with the historiography
of Thai cultural artifacts, notably art and architecture, during the 19th and 20th
centuries.
However, the definition of Deconstruction has been trivialized by scholars today;
there are profound disagreements as to what the term really means. Consequently,
Deconstruction is not a singular entity or activity that can be encapsulated into a
single definition.98 Although the problem of multiple definitions persists,
Deconstruction, here, is used primarily for research on the transformation process
of Siam toward Modernity through architecture.
Deconstruction began during the last quarter of the 20th century as a reaction
against the dominance of math and logic science and its absolutism, which was
perceived as inadequately grounded and guilty of overblown claims of
knowledge.99 Originating in the field of linguistics, Deconstruction was also
widely developed in history, psychology, economics, social, political, and gender
studies as the process and practice in post-subject/object manners.100
Regarding its theoretical foundation, in Of Grammatology (1973), Speech and
Phenomena, and Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs (1976), and Writing
and Difference (1978),101 Jacques Derrida disputed the long-accepted perspective
on permanent transcendental-metaphysical reality (Immanuel Kants
transcendental realism) that is:
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the idea that things exist just as they are quite apart from our way
of perceiving or knowing them... intended to provide exactly those
further a priori grounds of assurance that couldnt be supplied by a
straightforward appeal to empirical self-evidence.102
Derrida denies that transcendental realism ever exists. Since human beings always
ask questions from within a historical-social situation and amidst a multiplicity of
languages, forms, and materials, they are already enmeshed and involved in the
construction of the subject matters.
It follows that the concept of transcendental reality has created a false authority
for Western civilization and its metaphysical tradition to govern the body of
knowledge. Such a deception rests upon a supposition; the desired objective is
only achieved by concealing a more primal situation. Doubt occurs from the way
history has been organized, as well as the epistemology of the meanings of the
built environment and cultural artifacts. Since antiquity, the act of reading them
has been nothing more than just playing a guessing game based on a false
foundation.
Accordingly, Derrida claims that there is no moment when anything is given as
itself in full self-present identity since there is always a gap or an absence of
reality. His argument indicates that human beings, especially those living in
Western culture, have been imprisoned by the vast historical systems of
language. In his account, there are only two possibilities available to make sense
out of this make believe mess. First, what is misleading must be stripped away
without rebuilding a substitute, and obstacles must be removed in order to realize a
new positive historical principle of organization. Secondly, cultural
misunderstandings must be exposed by using multiple perspectives of history
without allowing these to become new foundations or grounding systems.103
To deconstruct, therefore, is to undo the imposition, the concealment, and the
confinement of historically masked systems of signification, by finding ways into
earlier and other interpretations and to expose their differences. By means of
displacement, the relationships between the binary terms of Signified and
Signifier are changed, together with the system of signifying meanings in which
those relationships have functioned. Derrida called this a play of signification.
Each displacement leads to others in the relationships, and the interpretation is
another system of the Signified and Signifier using a false pretense to elucidate
things as signs.
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When Deconstruction is applied to architectural interpretations, a building may be
regarded as a sign that signifies various implications due to historical
transformations and displacements: an endless play of differences between the
signified and the signifier. For that reason, viewers, including historians, need to
step outside the box of the established discourse, and look at everything with
critical eyes. This can be accomplished by unraveling restrictions imposed upon
them by the past, e.g., presupposition, custom, bias and belief, and taking apart
what has been constructed before and revealing the webs of signs and all the
components or possible meanings. The viewers then learn the composition of the
webs by unveiling their structures and constituents leading to a better insight on
how the webs of signs were constructed. Finally, it is up to the viewers judgment
whether to reconstruct an interpretation of the meanings, to use the old definitions,
or to do nothing, depending on the goal they set out to achieve for their
investigations.
Derrida called the above free plays in which the viewer must extend his/her self-
consciousness into new possible references, that is, to participate self-consciously
in the free play of difference.104 It does not matter what area of study those
references happen to be in because by looking at one thing, the deception,
structure, capability and limitation of another thing is revealed and discerned.
Thus, one version of explaining a cultural environment and artifact is as good as
others.105
The Theory of Semiology. By imagining architecture as a kind of
language, a building may be understood, like words and signs, for its signification
in the same way as proper names are to the objects denoted by them. The system
of meanings is simply given, with a basic underlying structure in which the
language operates.10
Studying the existence of Western and Modem architecture in Thailand takes
advantage of Semiotics when it comes to the epistemology of its history. Based on
the theory of Semiology, Hermeneutics107 provides a method to investigate various
accounts of the historiography of Thai architecture after the 1850s and establishes
a horizon of understanding on the structure of architectural meanings.
In Interpretations on Behalf of Place (1994),108 Mugerauer remarks that
comprehending a cultural environment and artifact, unlike understanding the
physical world in the discipline of natural science, has no general definition, and
the results of doing so are personal. He claims that Hermeneutics derives from the
position that the viewer, including the historian, can rarely attain an absolute and
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universal meaning of a cultural artifact and environment, because that capability is
reserved for its creator. Unfortunately, in most cases, the creator no longer
survives. When investigating works in a temporal dimension, the viewer may find
meanings at the time of creation unavailable.
In conducting a historical inquiry, historiansno matter how scientific or objective
they attempt to bemust make assumptions about past events and their
relationships to the objects of investigation. By contrast, Hermeneutics historians,
although not entirely dismissing the scientific view, take a different path. They
focus instead on revealing what is usually taken as peripheral and bring what is
usually hidden by the scientific approach to light.
Moreover, due to the fact that understanding is interpretative and contextual, it is
crucial for historians to reach a horizon of understandings, use valid criteria, create
a structure of signifying meanings, and realize the diversity of meanings within a
variety of possibilities. 109 In other words, historians should explore a variety of
relationships among the cultural object, environment, and its historical contextthe
framework of understandingbeyond an inventory of facts and material
conditions, concerned with collecting data, assembling an investigation and
shuffling information. However, in order to make sense out of those relationships,
they need to project their self-consciousness into a historical investigation.110
With Hermeneutics, it is as if the viewers are traveling with their present mentality
across temporal boundaries in a time machine. Seeking a new explanation of the
past is not the main goal. The objective is to move hindrances of understanding,
try to retrieve the original message, and disclose other implications of the cultural
artifact and environment in the present.
Hermeneutics is a methodology that focuses on the importance of exploring how
different stakeholders in a socio-cultural setting construct their beliefs. 11 This line
of thinking rejects the assumption that there is an absolute reality to be studied
and reported. Instead, it develops an understanding among various participants in
a socio-cultural phenomenon in a process known as the horizon of
understanding. Hermeneutics highlights different views of its object of study and
explains how comprehension on that object can be reached.
Significantly, Hermeneutic critics are indeed intellectually diverse; each has his or
her own way of interpretation. For instance, Phenomenologists like Martin
Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, and Edward Relph are not in agreement with
Structuralists like Claude Levi-Strauss, Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes,
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and Jonathan Culler on isolating structures of experience and judgement which
cannot be doubted or called into question by even the most skeptical mind.112
Even those with similar philosophies, e,g, Saussure and Barthes, disagree on many
things. This results in differences in interpreting meanings and structures of
meanings of texts, as well as in cognitive understanding. Furthermore, a
distinction between Deconstruction and Hermeneutics methods must be explained.
While the former allies itself with the latter in disputing that there is an absolute
meaning for interpretation, the two disagree on the issue of reaching the horizon of
understanding. Unlike Hermeneutics, Deconstruction argues that sharing concerns
across time and space, as well as finding collective meanings of cultural artifacts
and environment, is impossible. Focusing on the historical background and the
contexts of creation while combining the viewers situation with his/her worldly
and cultural involvement cannot sufficiently comprehend the meanings of the
cultural environment and artifact. Hence, for Deconstructivists like Jacques
Derrida and Paul De Man, the real absolute meaning does not exist.
Christopher Norris (1982) points out an example of differences between
Deconstruction and Hermeneutics using Derrida and Heidegger. He wrote:
...Heidegger locates the source and ground of authentic thought:
that is, in the moment of Being or plentitude which precedes
articulate discourse. For Derrida this can represent another classic
case of the familiar metaphysical hankering after truth and origins.
Heideggers entire Hermeneutics is founded on a notion of truth as
self-presence which ultimately seeks to efface, or claim to precede,
the play of signification. Where Nietzsche looked back beyond
Socrates to a diverse and shifting prehistory of thought, Heidegger
looked at a source of authentic truth in the unitary ground of Being.
His destruction of metaphysics is intended not, like Derrida, to
release a multiplicity of meaning but to call meaning back to its
proper, self-identical source. Heidegger thus stands as Derridas
nearest tactical ally and yetby this crucial divergence~as his
major modem antagonist.113
Nationalism. The Siamese ruling elite used nationalism to counter Western
colonization, although ironically the concept of a nation-state is a product of the
West. John Breuillys Nationalism and the State (1994)114 provides a source book
on the historical development of nationalism in different case studies. In Siam-
like Japan, China and Turkeynationalism happened in the guise of the
reformation process. Reform nationalism occurs as a top-down rather than bottom-
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up process. Yet, such a top-down nationalism also creates a bottom-up counterpart
as its contraposition and reflection. The two exist at the same time like two sides
of a coin advocating independence of nations. The movement typically originates
from the indigenous elite, yet it needs popular support, usually by means of
collaboration/negotiation, mobilization, and legitimization. Upon achieving
power, however, both approaches impose their own versions of the national
interest upon the opposition from within the states, while simultaneously
attempting to make its position acceptable to the general public and foreign
powers.
There are numerous ways in which these changes occur, but two scenarios are
prominent: either by organizing a national performancedisplaying the strength of
the nationand representing itself as ancient, culturally coherent, unified,
determined and faithful to self-proclaimed leaders, or assuming a new identity as
Westemized/modernized nation-state that divorces itself from the ancient past.115
Apparently, Thailand fits both models.
Yet, because Breuilly maintains that nationalism is a product of the ideology and
the practice of the modem nation-state originating in the West, his position on the
epistemology of nationalism is troublesome. His arguments are sustainable when
investigating the phenomena of nationalism in Europe or its colonies, and a few
special cases like Japan and China. Problems arise when applying them to a non-
Westem context that has never been colonized by the Westfor example Thailand-
-or at the basic level, the states that seem incongruous to the standard of being
Modem.
To put it differently, recognizing a modem state independently of the nationalism
it promotes is indeed problematic. Breuilly asserts that what makes a modem
nation-state different from its forerunners is the consent of the citizens to be
governed (self-determination). His statement implies that any repressive regime in
which subjects do not have a say about their nation cannot be a modem nation-
state, and thus the nationalism/nationalist movement does not exist there. Thus, it
is impossible to employ Breuillys account to study the phenomena of nationalism
in the countries that are presently authoritarian but also are explicitly nationalist
states, such as Myanmar, Iraq and China, since they are incongruent with his
definition of being Modem.
Be that as it may, Breuilly offers a important foundation for examining the issue of
nationalism in Thailand, particularly in relation to its cultural identity. The first
contribution comes from his allusion to Johann Gottfried Herder (1968)116 on the
theory of nationalism in the historical dimension. Herder derives the notion of
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nation from language.117 Since language functions as the groundwork of human
society and civilization, Herders thesis extends to all human activities, especially
for cultural artifacts, e.g. artworks, architecture, song, law, dress, custom, tradition,
ceremony, etc., as some sort of languages. Ultimately, community can be
described as the totality of these modes of expression, a complex unity, which
forms the basis of a nations identity.
The above interpretation makes a study of architecture in Thailand relevant to the
topic of nationalism, notably when considering it in the light of cultural identity.
In this sense, Thai architecture is not simply a mode of expression to serve the
Thai nationalist movement for manifesting the communitys values and ideas, but
also a projected image of the identity that the nation aspires to assume and as
fulfillment of the desired ideology. The linguistic theories that consider
architecture as signs strengthen the association between architecture and language
and thus architecture and identity.
Breuillys second contribution comes from his study on reform nationalism as a
valuable resource for the inquiry into the nationalist movement in 19th century
Thailand, then Siam, considering the nationalist movement opposed non-nation-
states in two ways. Japan provides a perfect model for the revolution from
above in which the ruling elite sought to consolidate their central authority by
establishing a modem nation-state to cope with Western colonization. Since both
Thailand and Japan shared striking similarity at the time, the reason for utilization
of this application is suitable. For instance, the two have never been colonized by
any Western powers, except after World War II when Japan was occupied by
America. Both began to modemize/Westemize at the same time. Their cultures
are based on the same rootBuddhism; and they succeeded in transforming their
countries into nation-states.
Turkey provides another useful model. The so-called Young Turk Revolution
presents an obvious parallel example for the political change originating from
below in the 20th century. Like Thailand, a small group of foreign educated
elite, the intelligentsia, pushed for the transformation of the states political system
by staging a coup d'etat and pushed Turkey towards a republic, while Thailand
moved towards a constitutional monarchy. Being middle-ranking government
agents, they initiated a reformation process because they were dissatisfied with the
ruling elite who were regarded both as impediments for developing the country
and as agents of foreign interests. They strove for distancing the country from the
backward past, while aiming at creating a new identity for a
Westemized/modemized nation-state. Evidently, this attempt was demonstrated
via cultural artifacts such as the architecture produced by both nations.
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Finally, Breuilly supplies a number of different theoretical approaches to
investigate nationalism, presenting the pros and cons for each, namely the
nationalist, communication, Marxist, psychological, and functional
approaches. The most useful theory for inquiring into the nationalist movement in
Thailand appears to be the psychological one. It starts with the assumption that
people need to identify with some cause or groups larger than themselves to
attain/retain their identity. Nationalism is singled out because of its importance
placed on special cultural groups as the basis of political assertions and actions. It
is based on the recovery of some identity, which has always been there, but at
present has been forgotten, abandoned, or threatened to extinction.
In Nations and Nationalism (1983),118 Ernest Gellner focuses on the psychological
aspect of the impact of imperialism, or Westernization/ Modernization on a non-
Westem society. According to him, nationalism promotes community as myth
the mythology of a nationwith an emphasis on cultural identity and emotional
solidarity. It projects this myth upon a large-scale society, or nation, by equating it
to a picture of life in a village or small town. Because the imperialist,
Westemizing/Modemizing process rapidly dislocates people from traditional roles
and positions they once occupied, these people are left in limbo, unable to identify
themselves with the state. The only way they know how to define themselves is to
apply attributes to themselves, such, as language, religion, and skin color.
Nationalism views this as a benefit due to the ideology/movement basing itself on
those cultural characteristics that act as the foundation to synthesize the whole new
identity. Therefore, the native people feel comfortable enough to adopt the
nationalist identity, since their cultural attributes are a part of the new identity.
The country of Thailand was transformed from the Kingdom of Siam to a nation
by the development and promotion of the ideas and practices of a national/cultural
identity. This appears to be a response to Western colonialism, which operates
under the guise of Modernity. Architecture, and other kinds of cultural artifacts,
provide answers to the required identity, generated by Modernity.
Regarding the conceptualization of nationalism, in Imagined Communities
(1983),119 Benedict Anderson argues that a nation is an imagined political
community. The members do not know each other, but the ideology of the
nation-state binds them together by creating a feeling of belonging and identity.
Like Herder (1968)120 and Gellner (1983),121 Anderson believes that language is
the main source of nationalism. Until the 18th century, the world was organized
into empires governed by supposedly divine sovereigns, who employed liturgical
language, such as Latin and Sanskrit, as the medium of culture and communication
to the sacred. Nationalism emerged as speakers of vernacular languages, e.g.,
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English, German, French, Thai, etc. rejected this organization of society, while
creating the feeling of belonging and identity for people as citizens not as subjects.
The rise of print capitalism: the publishing industry producing books, newspapers,
and other media in vernacular tongues, has facilitated, if not generated, such a
transformation. Readers have imagined that they belonged to a collective
community. As time passes, those languages may also turn into hybrids that
establish an identity for a nation-state.122
Andersons position on nationalism meets with criticism as well. He does not
provide a sufficient explanation as to why large-scale communities suddenly are
imagined as nations instead of something else like social classes. His analysis,
too, downplays the importance of forms of consciousness, notably political
ideology and religion, and their influences in founding nations. He also seems to
ignore that physical reality, i.e., geographical boundary, has played a vital role. In
addition, his assertion that Latin America was the birthplace for the historical
development of nationalism is disputable. Nationalism and nation-states have their
origins in Europe, not the New World.
However, Andersons concept of nationalism lends itself well to the idea of
hybridity in investigating the national/cultural identity of Thailand, particularly
through architecture. His point of view further justifies and reinforces the
application of Semiology to the research. The overlapping area between the study
of nationalism and Semiology suggests that the identity of a nation operates
through creations of cultural artifacts which, in turn, empower the myth of a
nation. The artifacts signify their meanings in a similar manner like words and
sentences express their definitions in language. The media for manifesting
national identity is not limited to textual materials, but extends to all cultural
artifacts, e.g., art works, buildings, costumes, cuisine, etc.
Applications of Research in Cross-cultural Studies. A small amount of
literature applies the field of Cross-cultural Studies. They provide excellent
exemplars both in terms of theoretical and methodological applications for
studying the transformation process of Siam toward Modernity through
architecture. In Architecture, Power, and National Identity (1992),123 Lawrence
Vale investigates the problem of representation of the nation-state in architecture
through government buildings and urban design: capitals and capitals. His study
evaluates how questions of political power, national identity, and cultural
pluralism (hybridity) are embedded in capital cities and structures housing
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