Jim Thompson settled in Bangkok and established the Thai Silk Company, working closely throughout the 1950s with the Cham Muslim weavers from Ban Krua community along the Sansaeb canal to create a cottage silk weaving industry. Across from the Ban Krua community, he decided to build a teakwood house, an interpretation of the Thai traditional house but with a modernist twist. He also collected Thai and Southeast Asian pre-modern art and artefacts.
Opened in November 2021, The Jim Thompson Art Center is the new home of the namesake foundation. The art centre expands its vision by creating an inclusive and multi-functional place for diverse experiences of contemporary art that hopes to address critical issues emerging within the local community which resonate with the regional and global community.
The new JTAC consists of a 4-storey multi-functional cultural space that includes two exhibition galleries, a functional rooftop space, a café, museum shop and William Warren library, as well as multiple rooms and open air spaces that connect the building together. Designed by Bangkok-based architectural firm design qua founded by Malina Palasthira and John Erskine, design qua takes an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to architecture, landscape and interior design.
Employing a sustainable tropical design approach to JTAC, with extensive outdoor spaces creating channels for ventilation, porous breathable walls and large overhangs (a welcome respite to the outdoor heat and humidity of Bangkok), the indoor conditioned spaces function as separate units minimizing the building’s energy use. Local materials are embraced, such as the distinct red bricks that are sourced from nearby Angthong province.
The easiest way to get to Jim Thompson House and Art Centre is on the BTS Sky Train - last stop on the Silom Line. Alight at National Stadium and follow the signs.