Bank headquarters are not exciting. They’re not exciting and they’re not fun. At least not usually. United Overseas Bank’s Bangkok headquarters is a unlike any other bank building. Known locally as “the robot building” the building is a Bangkok icon.
It was built in the mid 1980s, at a time when banking was being revolutionised by computers. The architect decided that the bank’s external appearance should reflect the changes going on inside the bank. It’s nice to see something different among the giant cubes of glass and steel. Plus it looks like a character from the Power Rangers!
The building has a few interesting features. Progressively receding walls give the building it’s distinctive roboty shape. The eyes are actually windows, apparently looking in on the main meeting room and the executive dining room. There are antennae on the roof/head. On the sides of the building are nuts made from glass reinforced concrete. When they were made they were the biggest nuts in the world.
Apparently, at some point in the past there was a show each evening that involved the eyes winking in time to a song. That doesn’t seem to happen any more.
Opinion is divided on the robot building. I like it. A lot of people do but a lot of people don’t. The childlike excitement you get from looking up at a giant robot towering over you has to count in its favour.
The robot building is located in Sathorn, Bangkok. The easiest way to see it is to catch the sky train to Saphan Taksin. It’s on your left after you’ve left Chong Nonsi station headed for Surasak.