Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Architecture, Syracuse University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Art History, Cornell University
Modern Leisure Architecture in Thailand, 1911-1976: 'Public Space,' National Identity and Modernity

My project investigates the dynamic role that leisure architecture played in the creation of public space, national identity and modernity in Thailand from 1911 to 1976. During this period, the creation of a national identity through architectural spaces of leisure became a major focus of the Thai state. Sites like the Yellow Rose club (Bangkok, ca. 1911), Lumpini Park (Bangkok, 1925), Suan Mokkh (Surat Thani, 1932), the Sala Chaloem Krung movie theatre (Bangkok, 1933), Rachadanoen Boxing Stadium (Bangkok, 1941), and the Dusit Thani Hotel (Bangkok, 1970) were central to that process. Initiated by royal, religious, military, and commercial agents, they were used as public spaces where sometimes violently competing members of an emergent “imagined community” gathered to assert a more unruly public identity than the one promoted by the state. By using these sites as case studies and researching the design, construction, and uses of these sites, I show the political properties of public space and its role in developing national identity and belonging in twentieth-century Thailand.