Khum Chao: the changes of style in Chiang Mai’s governor houses in the period of Western-colonization

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Piyadech Arkarapotiwong

Abstract

The Western-style Khum Chao (governor’s house) is a building complex that can still be seen in the city of Chiang Mai. The buildings were influenced by Western architecture in terms of architectural style, decoration, and functionality. This research aimed to study the reasons for building Western-style governor’s houses in Chiang Mai despite the fact that the buildings were formerly built in the traditional Lanna style. Presumably, Siamese influences on Chiang Mai affected the construction of Western-style governor’s houses. In this research, it was found that the Western-style governor’s house was clearly identifiable in the period of Chao Inthawichayanon, the seventh ruler of Chiang Mai. The popularity for building Western-style governor’s houses continued until the period when Chiang Mai was annexed as part of Siam, when the administration of Monthon Thesapiban (literally, local government) was adopted. The Western-style governor’s house changed from its original pattern to a functional layout. However, the research found that during the transformation indicates that the rulers of Chiang Mai did not directly accept architectural styles from foreign countries but through Siam, with its growing influence on Chiang Mai. Thus, the Western-style governor’s house in the framework discovered in this research may be called Siamese-influenced building.

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References

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