A commercial district in the heart of the city, Siam Square is known as a trendy spot for people across generations. An entire shopping district where youngsters find the latest fashion, it's also an ideal meeting spot where plenty of restaurants and malls are located. It is also a limitless learning resource with many educational hubs and institutions.
In the midst of rapidly changing trends, lifestyles, society and economy, the old commercial district has recently been rebranded as Siam Square Walking Street. Located on Siam Square Soi 7, Siam Square Walking Street recently opened after the Property Management of Chulalongkorn University (PMCU) continues its mixed-use projects. The area has been renovated over the past couple of years in order to develop urban communities with facilities that ensure a better quality of life.
"Although the main street area has remained the same concept as a mixed-use area, we have changed and developed it to be more beneficial for people who shop on foot, whether it's the part of the main street where we now prevent cars from passing or the burying of power and electrical cables underground to create beautiful scenery and ensure safety. There is also a wide walkway and it is easier to stroll around the area," said Assoc Prof Dr Wisanu Subsompon, vice-president for Property and Physical Management, Chulalongkorn University, during a recent group interview about the development of Chula Smart City.
Property Management of Chulalongkorn University
"The zoning of shops and restaurants has also been changed and some shops had to be renovated to meet the concept of the new walking street. I think we are fortunate to have good partner stores that understand the nature of Siam Square. Despite the difficulties in the beginning, we eventually saw a more complete picture of the real thing. The response has been very good so far."
Wisanu also emphasised the PMCU is determined to make Siam Square as an "area of opportunity" by supporting the incubation of small brand businesses to have a starting point in the city centre and be able to build their brand to grow sustainably.
"The charm of Siam Square is unique in terms of diversity, and in terms of brands, there are shops that meet the needs of all customers, proving that Siam Square is a space for everyone. There's also an event space that has a variety to support all target groups as well as a large new area to accommodate growing demand," he explained.
Another latest project by the PMCU is Siamscape, a mixed-use building in Siam Square. With the concept of "Lifelong Learning", Siamscape has an outstanding design and unique architecture through the Façade Gate, the entrance that represents a door that will lead to a world of endless learning. There are highlights on the 9th floor with L.A.M.P (Learning & Meeting Place) and the "Urban Park" concept, as well as an outdoor area on the 10th floor, SkyScape, which offers panoramic views, the first in the area.
Siam Square from above. Property Management of Chulalongkorn University
Siam Square is also the source of flagship stores with a variety of distinctive and different brands, both Thai and international, such as SHU, SOS & SENSE and FIRSTER, which present beauty and lifestyle items from around the world.
As of now, cars are not allowed to pass through the main walking street, especially during the weekend. Wisanu said the PMCU has now planned to deal with traffic congestion that will follow by providing additional parking arrangements, such as a parking lot inside Siamscape, Siamkitti, Siam Square One and Wittayakit buildings.
"Now you can visit Siam Square without having to find a spot to park your car anymore. If you came from Phaya Thai Road, you can park at the Siamscape building, or Siamkitti building if you're coming from Henri Dunant Road, as well as at Siam Square One if you are from Rama I Road," he said. "In addition, there are also three charging stations for electric vehicles. And there is also the 'Green Area', a space to relax with beautiful mini-gardens in the heart of the city."
Siam Square Walking Street at night. Property Management of Chulalongkorn University
There's also a plan to solve the flood problem around the area. During free time amid Covid-19, new adjustments to the sewer connection system at all points were made. The project is now nearing completion with final details left such as planting trees along the walkway or installing new pipe covers along the road.
"At the beginning of June, we got through the heavy rain situation. This makes us more confident that after this there will be no more flooding problems in Siam Square," Wisanu said.
Even though construction work is nearing completion, Wisanu promises that after this, there will be continuous improvements in various fields.
"One of them is planning to extend the business hours of each shop in Siam Square to open until midnight or so, in order to compensate for the hot weather during the day, when not many people used the services in the past," he said. "And the next step would be a plan to develop a zone of a 12-room shophouse on Henri Dunant Road, which is now still in the design stage."
Assoc Prof Dr Wisanu Subsompon, vice-president of PMCU. Property Management of Chulalongkorn University