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Professor Luang Visal Silpakarm was born Chua Patamajinda on 2 February 1884 in Samut Prakarn, and was the grandson of Luang Prasitthi Artakarn, a Royal Arts and Crafts Master. He was married to Busarakam Tupvatana, and had 5 children. His eldest daughter, Samniang, married Vithya Bhirom Bhakdi, son of Praya Bhirom Bhakdi, the founder of the first brewery in Thailand. Luang Visal was probably the last great Thai Architect, and was bestowed the title of Luang for his contribution to traditional Thai architecture.

He was educated at the Tongsalangam Temple, and did some art studies. At 18, he was enrolled in the Department of Police, at a department that oversaw the Royal Grounds. During this time, he showed a keen interest in architecture and was involved in the building of the Merumas or Cremation Structure of Crown Prince Maha Vajirunhis.
After the monkhood, Luang Visal went to work at the Arts Department and was involved in all kinds of crafts including screen-printing, works that involved the use of mother-of-pearls and ivory and was the head master leading his pupils to paint the walls of the Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall during the funeral of HM King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). During the reign of King Rama VI, the Arts Department became the Po Chang School, headed by HRH Prince Chudadhuj, and Luang Visal stayed on for 17 years. He first received the title of Kun then followed by Luang at this time. He then moved to several ministries that dealt with arts and architecture, as well as became a teacher of arts in many notable art schools around Thailand. His most famous works include the renovation of Chandra Kasem Palace (now the Ministry of Education), the Science Building and Chakrabongse Building at Chulalongkorn University and many buildings at the Vajiravudh Academy, notable for its brilliant Thai architecture. He also designed the special tiles for use on the roof of the Language Department, Chulalongkorn University, which was a first by a Siamese. He also designed and built hundreds of temples, statues, buildings in Bangkok and around Thailand. Luang Visal spent some time as a teacher at Rajini School, the first school for girls set up by HM Queen Sri Bajarindra, and was awarded a pin with her initials in enamel. He was also awarded an Honourary Degree in Thai Arts, as well as notable Orders from the King of Thailand. In later times, he designed and built many buildings at the Ancient City complex, which was a place where all notable buildings around Thailand are gathered in one place. He also became a professor for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who wrote a moving testimony in his remembrance book for his funeral. Luang Visal died on 16 March 1982, at the age of 98, having lived through 5 reigns of the Chakri Dynasty. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn attended the Royal Sponsored cremation ceremony on 24 March 1982 at (Wat) Tritosathep Temple.

A drawing for Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

A building at Vajiravudh Academy

Part of Luang Visal's commemorative funeral book can been seen below (in Thai only).
Pg1 Pg2 Pg3 Pg4 Pg5 Pg6 Pg7 Pg8 Pg9 Pg10 Pg11 Pg12

Note: Kun, Luang and Praya are titles of the old Siamese Aristocracy no longer in used. For more information please visit the Aristocratic Titles Simplified section.

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