Tropical Construction Goes Green in Singapore

SINGAPORE — In downtown Singapore, a newly completed skyscraper is growing green. Oaisa Downtown, a 27-story hotel with a plant-covered exoskeleton, is unlike any other experimental green high-rise. WOHA, the Singapore-based designer, created the sustainable building as an alternate to the Western glass-and-steel structures, which tend to attract and trap heat in the tropics.

In certain spaces, the foliage creeps into the skyscraper in its open-sided sky gardens so that wind can provide ventilation. High-volume, low-velocity fans help to circulate the fresh air. These sky gardens provide alternate imagery and an organic social space, internal dynamic views

Opened April 18, the building features 20 species of flowering vines and creeper plants, which are working slowly but steadily to cover the aluminum mesh façade in the next 12 months. The tower was planned and planted to reduce complicated maintenance for the gardeners so that “flying gardeners” will not be needed.

With a Green Plot Ratio of 750 percent and a striking exterior, Oasia Downtown hopes to humanize architecture again. The Oasia brand emphasizes three pillars: Recharge, Refuel and Refresh. Instead of artificially cold air, there are cool and comfortable breezes entering the building. Natural light fills the corridors. Insects and hummingbirds come up to the gardens to mix with the corporate world.

“We wanted to bring biodiversity back and compensate for the hardness of the city. That will make [the hotel] more livable and more than just a building,” said Architect Wong Mun Summ, co-founder of WOHA, in an interview with The Straits Times.

The tower also meshes its Central Business District location and 314 hotel rooms with a number of amenities, including two restaurants, a gym, a club lounge, infinity pools and a bar. Topping it all is a garden crown on the roof.

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