Oasia Hotel, Singapore: upbeat sustainability with style

New standards in the sea of buildings in Singapore’s central business district are set by the Oasia Hotel, hailing from the hotel group of the same name and which was completed in 2016. In contrast to conventional high-rise towers, which are hermetically sealed and air-conditioned, this building, designed by the local WOHA office, impressively combines nature and architecture, both inside and out.

The various pools adorning the building also reflect these high standards. As a part of the whole design concept they have been fashioned by the Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. She expanded upon WOHA’s upbeat and lively architecture to feature stylish and airy elegance being inspired by Singapore’s cultural diversity, dynamic society and tropical environment. Following her general intention she emphasized the importance of colours to give the whole hotel a strong personality and contemporary attitude. The 314 rooms have custom made furniture designed by Patricia Urquiola exclusively for the Oasia hotel. 

For the various pools, she employed ceramic tiles from the CromaPlural system by the German brand Agrob Buchtal. Each pool has its own character.

The one on the 21st floor is a stylish location for the lounge club located there: the 1.20-metre-deep pool, with a dynamic chevron pattern made of light and dark blue tiles, is supplemented by an ankle-deep “wading pool”, in which you only cool your feet while you enjoy sipping on a cocktail.

The rooftop pool on the 27th floor is divided in two by the roof restaurant located in the centre. The pools are also include 1.20-metre-deep and very shallow areas with lounge chairs, which are surrounded by the calm waters. Unlike most roof areas of hotels, whose attraction is generally a far-reaching panoramic view, the view of the city’s skyline is almost completely obscured by the overgrown barrier – further proof of how unconventional WOHA’s architecture is. Instead of a thrilling view, this top area of the building offers a zone of surprising intimacy, creating an unexpected oasis amidst the urban bustle.

The pools are elementary components of a building which embodies an unmistakable architectural accentuation through its colour, shape and proportion. The declared intention of the architect was “to create an alternative language of imagery for high-rise buildings. We wished to combine innovative options for utilisation of space with a tropical approach, which culminated in an open, permeable, lush, green tower.”

This tower is 190 metres in height and offers four large outer areas in the form of three huge verandas and the previously mentioned roof terrace. This is surrounded by a ten-floor-high barrier which features the same red aluminium mesh as the rest of the building. With time, the façade will become covered with 21 different types of climbing plants and vines, creating a lively contrast between powerful red and sumptuous green tones. Sustainable architecture still bears the reputation of humourless seriousness. The Oasia Downtown Hotel shows that there is an alternative, which entails combining sustainability with upbeat design – a conceptual pair completely in line with the philosophy of the WOHA architectural firm, which was founded in 1994 by the Singaporean Wong Mun Summ and the Australian Richard Hassell, who has called Singapore his home since 1989.

In addition to the red – but soon to be predominantly green – façade, the Sky Gardens are among the inspiring sustainability aspects of the building, with their green plants, fresh air and resulting ventilation. The Sky Gardens were the answer to the owner’s desire for striking areas in the building. Given the limited ground area, WOHA decided on an approach which was later referred to as “Club Sandwich”: a series of different layers arose, each with its own Sky Garden. These gardens, described by WOHA as “higher-up ground floors”, were able to be utilised to multiply the “valuable yet limited ground area. 

The result is a special kind of “overall artistic work” standing apart even in the middle of the vast sea of buildings and the numerous spectacular structures of Singapore – not as a product of cheap showmanship or due to its sheer size, but because of its striking signature, individuality and self-confident presence, in addition to its lightness and nonchalance.