Singapore’s friendly green tower named best tall building of 2017

The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has named a hotel in Singapore clad with 54 kinds of climbing plant as the best tall building of the year.

A contrast to Singapore’s sealed corporate boxes

Antony Wood, the director of CTBUH, commented: "This project won not only because it incorporates 60 storeys of green walls along the exterior, but because of its significant commitment to communal space. The tower has given over 40% of its volume to open air communal terraces in the sky."

The 191m-high Oasia Hotel offers a colourful contrast to the grey steel and glass towers in the centre of Singapore. And, unlike its neighbours, it is not a secure, sealed, air-conditioned box – rather, it was designed by local practice WOHA with an open structure that CTBUH says provided a new model for dense tropical design.

The openness is expressed by the plants, which inhabit an aluminium mesh façade, and also by gaps in the structure that allows breezes to pass through the building and reduce the need for mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning.

As well as the hotel, the tower is divided into offices and club rooms, each of which has its own sky garden. The building has many public areas for recreation and social interaction.

The 314-room hotel was developed by the Far East Organisation, with KTP Consultants as the structural engineer, Rankine & Hill was the MEP engineer and Woh Hup was the main contractor.

The building was chosen from three other regional winners:

  • The American Copper Buildings in Manhattan, designed by local firm SHoP Architects, which took the title for the Americas: it’s metallic façade and "kinky" engineering is "a venturesome and highly visible architectural statement".
  • The Silo in the Nordhavn area of Copenhagen, by Danish architect COBE, which was named Europe’s best tall building, preserves the raw concrete interior of a grain store and adds a galvanized steel skin. This "embodies the importance of restoring original structures in cities, as … an ethical and visionary approach to cultural heritage".
  • The Zeitz Mocaa, in Cape Town, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, was awarded best building in the Middle East and Africa. This is another grain silo, now converted into a luxury hotel and museum for contemporary African art. The greatest visible change to the original structure is the "addition of glass windows which by night transform the building into a glowing beacon on Table Bay".

Main image: WOHA’s Hotel Oasia: open to the elements (YouTube)

SHoP’s luxury apartments on Manhattan’s waterfront

Keeping faith with concrete: COBE’s Silo

A sculpture by South African artist Nicholas Hlobo in the main hall of the Zeitz-Mocaa

Further reading

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