Oasia Hotel: A tropical urban tower

by Ofentse Sefolo
Oasia Hotel: A tropical urban tower

The Oasia Hotel in Singapore’s central business district, designed by WOHA, merges architecture and nature by combining indoor and outdoor spaces in a striking fashion.

According to the architects, the aim was “to create an alternative imagery for commercial high-rise developments”. Posed with the challenge of a small building footprint, the design combines innovative ways to intensify land use with “a tropical approach that showcases a perforated, permeable, furry, verdant tower of green”.

The Oasia Hotel Downtown clearly stands out in the sea of buildings in Singapore. The sustainably designed building, planned by the reputable WOHA office, impresses with its unconventional, upbeat symbiosis of architecture and nature, as well as the connection between inside and outside.

The “club sandwich” approach
In programmatic response to the client’s brief of having distinct Soho, hotel and club rooms, WOHA adopted a “club sandwich” approach by creating a series of different strata, each with its own sky garden. Introducing layers of elevated ground levels allows the limited ground-floor space to be multiplied, creating generous public areas for recreation and social interaction throughout the high-rise. The sky gardens also offer greenery, fresh air and opportunities for natural cross-ventilation.

Gardens in the sky
Standing 190 metres tall, the 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. Spanish designer and architect Patricia Urquiola was responsible for all interiors as well as the outdoor spaces of the hotel, adding a breezy elegance to WOHA’s delightfully quirky architecture.

For example, each pool has a different character. The one on the 6th floor is part of a gym, while on the 21st floor, the pool acts as a stylish extension of the lounge club. To emphasise this difference, Urquiola selected specific tiles from Agrob Buchtal’s Chroma series.

On the 27th floor, the roof terrace is surrounded and protected by a ten-storey high screen, covered in the same red aluminium mesh cladding as the rest of the tower. This facade will gradually be overgrown by 21 species of creepers and vines, creating a lively contrast between vibrant reds and lush greens.

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. Instead of a view, this rooftop offers a place of unexpected intimacy and tranquillity, an unconventional oasis from the bustle of the city.

The central plateau of the roof restaurant on the 27th floor is enclosed by the rooftop pools. An exciting view from here was deliberately omitted to create an intimate area amidst the urban bustle in the metropolis of Singapore.

Best tall building
The project has won multiple awards since 2016, with one of the latest being the 2018 Best Tall Building Worldwide, awarded by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in Chicago, Illinois.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Agrob Buchtal GmbH, WOHA and v2com for the information and images provided.

Caption main image: The Oasia Hotel rooftop offers a place of unexpected intimacy and tranquillity, an unconventional oasis from the bustle of the city.

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