WOHA and Pa­tri­cia Urquiola merge ar­chi­tec­ture and na­ture to create sus­tain­abil­ity and de­light

In con­trast with the con­ven­tional, com­pletely sealed-off, air-con­di­tioned tower, this ho­tel, de­signed by WOHA and Pa­tri­cia Urquiola, merges ar­chi­tec­ture and na­ture, and com­bines in­door and out­door spa­ces in a strik­ing fash­ion to create sus­tain­abil­ity and

MGS Architecture - - News - Photo credit: In­fini­tude Project source: v2­com

The Oa­sia Ho­tel in the cen­tral busi­ness district of Sin­ga­pore, re­de­fines what a high-rise can be in hu­mid trop­i­cal cli­mates. Ac­cord­ing to the ar­chi­tects, the aim was ‘to create an al­ter­na­tive im­agery for com­mer­cial high-rise de­vel­op­ments. It com­bines in­no­va­tive ways to in­ten­sify land use with a trop­i­cal ap­proach that show­cases a per­fo­rated, per­me­able, furry, ver­dant tower.’ The 190m tower con­tains four large out­door spa­ces: three enor­mous ve­ran­das on the 6th, 12th, and 21st floor, as well as a roof ter­race on the 27th floor. The roof ter­race is sur­rounded and pro­tected by a 10-storey-high screen, cov­ered in the same red alu­minium mesh cladding as the rest of the tower. The fa­cade will grad­u­ally be over­grown by 21 species of creep­ers and vines, cre­at­ing a lively con­trast between vi­brant reds and lush greens.

While the pur­suit of sus­tain­abil­ity is of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by hu­mour­less earnest­ness, WOHA shows that it prefers to stand apart as it com­bines sus­tain­abil­ity with de­light: two terms that are promi­nently present in the of­fice’s de­sign phi­los­o­phy. Aside from the red/green façade, the sky gar­dens also of­fer green­ery, fresh air, and op­por­tu­ni­ties for nat­u­ral cross-ven­ti­la­tion, as well as rep­re­sent­ing the most vis­i­bly sus­tain­able and de­light­ful as­pects of the build­ing. Given the small foot­print, WOHA adopted what they call ‘a club sand­wich ap­proach by cre­at­ing a se­ries of dif­fer­ent strata, each with its own sky gar­den.’ In­tro­duc­ing these sky gar­dens as ‘el­e­vated ground lev­els’, al­lowed ‘the pre­cious but lim­ited ground floor space to be mul­ti­plied, cre­at­ing gen­er­ous pub­lic ar­eas for re­cre­ation and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion through­out the high-rise.

While WOHA can be cred­ited for the ar­chi­tec­ture of the tower it­self and the con­cept of stack­ing lay­ers, the ac­tual de­sign of the sky gar­dens is the work of Span­ish de­signer and ar­chi­tect Pa­tri­cia Urquiola, who was re­spon­si­ble for all in­te­ri­ors as well as the out­door spa­ces of the ho­tel. For the pools on the 21st and 27th floor, she has used Agrob Buch­tal ce­ramic tiles from the Ger­man com­pany’s Chroma se­ries, and has given each pool a dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter. Un­like most rooftop ameni­ties in ho­tels, which are all about the panorama, here the city’s sky­line is al­most com­pletely con­cealed by the veg­e­tated screen. This un­der­lines the un­con­ven­tion­al­ity of WOHA’S ar­chi­tec­ture. In­stead of a view, the rooftop of­fers a place of un­ex­pected in­ti­macy and tran­quil­ity from the bus­tle of the city.

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