Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Siam Rama - Chanthaburi, Thailand

At the height of its cinemania, Chanthaburi City had six active stand-alone movie theaters serving its citizens. That's six theaters in a town that can be crossed on foot in about 20 minutes. Around almost every corner in Chanthaburi of the 1980's one would invariably come across a movie theater; its neon hues casting a soft glow on the asphalt streets below. 

Of those six theaters, five are still standing, and four are still in recognizable condition. One of them can be found just around the corner from the central traffic circle in the heart of town. That one would be the Siam Rama. While not the most ornate of the quartet, it does have a noteworthy feature. If approached from said traffic circle, the Siam Rama creates a quintessential terminated vista. That is, it stands at the head of a perpendicular street, causing the view to have a definitive end point.

In the nomenclature of New Urbanism, a terminated vista is a desirable city attribute. It gives a street a destination point for pedestrians to gravitate towards. A street terminating in a movie theater is a dream come true from any pious New Urbanist.

This theater, lamentably, has long been closed. In its second life it serves a function most antithetical to New Urbanist theory - a parking garage. 

Nonetheless, it stands. That in itself is winning state of affairs.

The Siam Rama, Chanthaburi's most famous terminated vista

No comments:

Post a Comment