For many of us, the words “college lounge” evoke unsettling memories. The smell of burnt popcorn. Flipping over the cushions, as if the underside of the couch will be any less disgusting. Being sexiled.
Not so at Bangkok University, where students are enjoying a new lounge courtesy of Supermachine Studio. “It’s a youngsters’ ecology,” explain the architects on their website, which is full of unexpected delights (a transforming stage shaped like a cow, for example).
Supermachine’s multi-level lounge space is located inside the lower levels of a new complex at the University. The “lounge” is actually a 3,000-square-foot series of study rooms and social areas, spanning two floors. On the ground floor, a warren of reading and study alcoves are divided by hundreds of amorphous OSB panels. There’s a “reading cave” and a incredible sofa made up of soft “pixels,” meant to be played with and rearranged. The only hint of the madness going on upstairs? A gigantic pink submarine periscope that hangs down from the ceiling, tempting the studious with views of the social space above.
Students can access the upper floor via one of two equally bonkers circulation cores. One is a staircase walled with animé comics. The other, a spiral stair that spits you out into the belly of a 20-foot-high teddy bear, which will be customized annually by the students themselves.
Above the cavernous study areas, students have access to a college-aged playground. Supermachine calls it a “village,” referring to the small “huts” that divide up the space. Each hut hosts a dedicated activity, like karaoke and band practice, and has operable walls that swing out to form a public stage. Another low-slung adaptable sofa sits below a snaking “super chandelier" decorated with empty beer bottles.
The architects clearly had fun outfitting the social areas. They’ve reinvented old bar standards, like pool and darts--for example, a giant dart board means you’ll never lose, while a specially fabricated “super pool table” is twice the length of a standard version, and full of bizarre obstacles. A neon pink screening room, and a stripper pole (complete with disco ball) round out the amenities.
One gripe? The “Girl’s Corner” is just a make-up vanity, as opposed to the cool "Kung Fu practice area" next door. Looks like someone missed a couple seminars in Intro to Gender Politics 101.