In 1995, the Governor of Bangkok, Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, founded a project called “The Art Center.” After an agreement was reached that the Bangkok Contemporary Art Center should be located near Pathumwan Junction, the project was shelved in 2001 when Samak Sundaravej became the new governor. He wanted retail space and private investors. Cultural organizations, artists, students and the media have joined forces to protest the suspension.
In 2004, Apirak Kosayodhin became Governor of Bangkok. The project was presented again, and the governor accepted the original project that the arts center should be designed according to the original plan. On August 19, 2005, a “Declaration of Cooperation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and Allied Organizations in the Fields of Arts and Culture in the Fields of Arts and Culture” was signed at Benjasiri Park. On July 29, 2008, the Bangkok Art and Culture Center opened after many delays.
The BACC aims to create a meeting place for artists and the public to offer cultural programs for the community while emphasizing cultural continuity from the past to the present. The aim is to open new avenues for cultural dialogue, networking and creating new cultural resources from the public and private sectors. The main goal of BACC is to become a place of cultural exchange.
Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) is the hub of Bangkok’s burgeoning art scene and offers the city’s largest selection of contemporary art, design, music, theater and film. It is a few minutes from the National Stadium BTS Skytrain and regularly hosts temporary exhibitions by Thai and international artists. Both inside and out, the building is reminiscent of the Guggenheim in New York, with its vast, sweeping white façade and spiraling corridors. It stands on the corner of the Pathumwan junction between the shopping malls and often features exciting sculptures in the main square. It finally opened in 2008, 13 years after the idea was first proposed.
Varying exhibits at BACC
The exhibits on display at BACC are very diverse. It has an international touch, with explanations in English and bilingual staff on hand to enhance the experience. The ample space can sometimes feel empty, but the innovation is evident once you enter the galleries. Rotating curators ensure that there is always something exciting and challenging to see. In recent years this has included New Asian Photography, the Young Thai Artist Award, Contemporary Japanese Crafts, the Mekong River Art Project and many others.
Good to know about the Arts and Culture Center of Bangkok
The arts center has quickly become a popular meeting place for students, although the general public and visitors to the area are only sometimes enthusiastic. Although some restrictions and not all exhibits are of world-class standard, it offers a great insight into the modern-day culture in Thailand.
The BACC building was designed by Robert G. Boughey and Associates based on four criteria:
- Flexible space
- Respects Thai architecture and culture
- Elevated and airy spaces
- Natural but controlled lighting
The multi-function room is located on the first floor to host various activities, such as banquets, press conferences, meetings, etc. The multi-function room has a capacity of 250-300 people and a size of 280 square meters. The building was constructed to provide high spaces for art, and the central atrium serves as the building’s symbol and sets the tone for the rest of the interior.