Architecture as a Process during the Reign of King Mongkut (1851–1868)

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Pirasri Povatong

Abstract

This research article examines the process of making architecture during the reign of King Mongkut (1851–1868), through the collection of primary textual data as well as secondary historical materials, and the analysis through cultural sociology theoretical framework. There are 3 major findings: (1) There were 5 major groups of people in the process–project managers, master builders, supervisors, contractors, and labors. The first three groups and the corvée labors were intrinsic to the patronage social structure in the traditional manner, while contractors and Chinese labors were new groups which began to replace the old corvée system, a part of changes in revenue system and foreign trade which began since the reign of King Nangklao; (2) The production and procurement of construction materials was primarily based on traditional corvée system, in conjunction with the importation of new construction materials from abroad. Transportation of materials remained very traditional, yet new modes, such as steamboats, helped facilitate transportation system; and (3) The design and construction process remained very traditional. The king was the social epicenter, and his predilections had a lot of impact on architecture in many dimensions, including the construction of provincial palaces and monasteries, the revival of ancient Thai architectural forms, as well as the importation of Western architectural and artistic forms.

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References

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