Connect with us


Is the new Suvarnabhumi T2 design copied?



by Phatarawadee Phataranawik

The new Suvarnabhumi Airport, much-needed, T2 project has become embroiled in claims of plagiarism and dodgy tender processes.

Renowned Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag’s winning “forest” design for Suvarnabhumi Airport’s new 35 billion baht passenger terminal is embroiled in a plagiarism controversy as well as added scepticism about the transparency of the design contest organised by Airports of Thailand (AoT).

The uproar arose after the original winner – SPAN Consultants and Sign-Tech Engineering Consultant Company, entering as “the SA Group” – was disqualified for failing to return the official AoT quotation form bearing its cost estimate.

The runner-up, Duangrit’s DBALP Consortium, was declared the winner last week amid claims that it had plagiarised the concept of Kengo Kuma’s Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum in southern Japan.

The design contract, alone, is worth around 329 million baht. The DBALP design had the assistance of several other agencies, including Japan’s Nikken Sekkei, EMS Consultants, MHPM, MSE and ARJ Consortium.

Four architecture firms tendered to design the new Terminal 2, which is part of the Bangkok airport’s third development phase. The others in the running were Varda Associates and the Beaumont Partnership.

If the DBALP proposal goes forward, construction of the 348,000 square metre T2 is scheduled for completion in 30 months and the terminal should be fully operational in 2021 or early 2022. It’s intended to accommodate more than 30 million passengers annually.

Is the new Suvarnabhumi T2 design copied? | News by Thaiger
SA Group’s lotus-inspired design was disqualified for failure to return the official AoT quotation form bearing its cost estimate – PHOTO: SA Group

But the project could be delayed because the SA Group has asked the government and Administrative Court to consider the plagiarism claim. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed AoT to review the contest and make sure everything was above board. Prayut said after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the AoT must ensure there were no legal impediments that would delay construction of T2.

“The contest was conducted transparently,” AoT president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn insisted in an official statement the same day, adding that the SA Group was disqualified only for lack of the quotation form, an oversight to which he said the bidder admitted.  However, the group has claimed it received no such form from AoT.

“The original quotation for design cost was an important document in the bidding process and our procurement staff had prepared and numbered them accordingly,” Nitinai said.

He added that the list of documents contained in envelopes given to the bidders was also made clear to them.

“There was no complaint from any bidder about not receiving all the documents,” he said.

Is the new Suvarnabhumi T2 design copied? | News by Thaiger
The design by Varda Associates Company 

AoT has yet to sign a contract with Duangrit and his team, pending the review and consultation with experts and the public.

The Architects Council of Thailand affirmed on Friday that the design contest had met its regulations for single-step bidding. The contest, though, took place before the new Government Procurement and Supplies Management Act was passed, by which such bidding competitions are required to enter two rounds, covering conceptual design and construction design.

Is the new Suvarnabhumi T2 design copied? | News by Thaiger
Kengo Kuma’s Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum in southern Japan. PHOTO: Kenho Kuma

Duangrit’s design is indeed similar to that of the iconic Japanese museum, but the Architects Council has not been prodded to take action on ethical grounds.

“We can’t say that he’s copied anything because we would first need to see all the relevant documents,” said Channarong Khanthong, the council’s second vice president.

“The investigation process would take time, but if we found him guilty of plagiarism, his proposal could not be used for the terminal.”

“I didn’t copy anyone else’s work,” architect Duangrit insists.

He said he spent over two months on the concept, drawing inspiration not from Kuma’s museum but from Thailand’s tropical forests.

Passengers would be greeted at the terminal by a lush landscape and huge waterfall, under a roof of modular components supported by overlapping wooden columns. It’s this last facet of the design that’s drawn comparisons to the Wooden Bridge Museum.

Critics say that Duangrit’s complicated design would make the terminal far more difficult to maintain than the SA Group concept.

Is the new Suvarnabhumi T2 design copied? | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation Weekend


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

The Thaiger is Thailand's largest online portal for news, videos and information.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Teaching in Thailand21 mins ago

How to land an English teaching job in Thailand

Tourism22 mins ago

Cruise brings 600 tourists to Koh Samui

Politics31 mins ago

Bangladeshi-Burmese border conference offers model for Thailand

Sponsored2 hours ago

What makes Tops Fine Food the ideal place to shop for premium food in Bangkok

Press Room32 mins ago

BKFC Asia 4: The Big Bash announced for December 10

Pattaya39 mins ago

Pattaya hotel thieves snatch valuables from Thai and Dutch tourists

Thailand39 mins ago

Thai gold necklace thief escapes arrest by swimming to Myanmar

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
China2 hours ago

People of China protest on streets over mainland’s zero-Covid policy

World2 hours ago

Iranian Kurdish football player arrested after speaking out

Tourism2 hours ago

Thailand’s monkey feast festival in Lopburi attracts raucous crowd

Travel2 hours ago

Eat, pray, sleep Bali-Style- how I escaped the box

Thailand3 hours ago

World Cup to be shown in Thai prison | GMT

Crime19 hours ago

Angry woman sets fire to her boyfriend’s Pattaya room

Thailand20 hours ago

Explore Thailand’s least visited city in the South!

Pattaya20 hours ago

Newborn baby found in Pattaya trash can

Crime20 hours ago

Poll examines sexual violence causes, definitions

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11