On July 2nd 1997 South East Asia was hit with a composite loss of more than 230 billion USD. Many factors led to this disaster; high capital mobility, managed exchange rates, monetary autonomy etc…From 1995 to 1997 many Asian countries saw the largest property boom ever. A swift expansion of the construction industry, a rise of real estate prices, and an acceleration in the money supply led to a bubble that, of course, burst. This is now known as the Asian Financial Crisis.

Now Thailand is back on its feet.  But as Bangkokians we are left with skyscrapers that are not complete. Some are mere skeletons; the bare bones of an architect’s incomplete vision. They are ugly, probably unsafe and are forgotten fossils left over from a tragic time in Thailand.

Coming from America it is hard for me to imagine no one wanting to fix these buildings. Don’t get me wrong; America has many abandoned buildings but we have them in poor neighborhoods. Never in the States would an abandoned building be taking up space when it could be making huge profits. The property some of these buildings are sitting on must be extremely valuable. Petchaburi, Satorn, Sukhumvit; these are major road ways and the land is worth millions. I don’t get it.

I stare at one every day. I drink beers with my friends on the roof of my car park. The view is ok but I can’t take my eyes off this one building. Honestly; it’s like the building has AIDS.  Basically it’s a waste of space and resources; just the raw materials alone could be used to build a school for poor kids, no?

So here is my idea on how to fix it.

Vertical Gardens: How did people not think of this already? These buildings could be draped in ivy, filled with vegetables/fruits and pumping oxygen into the city. I believe people would jump at the chance to contribute.  I believe Bangkok people would love to volunteer their time and money just to make their city beautiful (and to take Facebook photos, of course). Schools could get involved; this would be a great teaching tool and a wonderful way for students to be a part of something wonderful. I am involved in my school’s Garden Club so I know that it isn’t hard to plant vegetables, fruits, or flowers. It’s relatively cheap and kids love doing it.

I also would love to get an artist involved: Now I don’t know what the artist will do once he or she gets in there but I’m willing to take a chance. Paintings, spray paint, sculptures; whatever, all are welcome.

This is a win/win for everyone. The community gets to come together as one cohesive unit. The artist gets to do something amazing for his or her portfolio. The city gets to transform a hideous structure into a work of art. Tourist will flock to it. I think this would be very easy to get either corporate sponsors or just good old fashioned donations.

Now this will never happen. Anytime citizens band together to help their community they are met with pepper spray, police hand cuffs, dogs etc. Also (as my supervisor has informed me) these buildings are owned by people. These owners could care less about these unsightly formations looming over our skyline but of course once we as people start to fix the problem the owners will start to care.

The red tape or bureaucratic options are the Code Enforcement Option, Neighborhood Purchase Option, etc.. But in my mind nothing gets done if you ask the government. So why not celebrate our skeletons in the closet. We are the city of angels; protectors of the architecture graveyard.