* DESIGN OF
THE YEAR 2013

Parkroyal On Pickering


WOHA Architects Pte Ltd

PARKROYAL on Pickering is a hotel and office in a garden. Located on Upper Pickering Street, the project is a study of how we can not only conserve our greenery in a built-up high-rise city centre but multiply it in a manner that is architecturally striking, integrated and sustainable.

On the ground, a contoured podium creates dramatic outdoor plazas and gardens that flow seamlessly into the interiors. Greenery from the park is drawn up in the form of planted valleys, gullies and waterfalls. The landscaping also conceals openings to the above ground carpark while allowing in air and natural light. The top of the podium is a lush landscaped terrace housing and the development’s recreational facilities, with infinity pools opening up to unobstructed views of the city.

Lofty four-storey sky gardens bring lush greenery directly to the rooms and breaks down the scale of the building. Corridors, lobbies and common washrooms are designed as garden spaces with stepping stones; planting and water features create an alluring resort ambience with natural light and fresh air. A total of 15,000 square metres of sky gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and green walls were designed. This is double the site area or equivalent to the footprint of Hong Lim Park.

The crisp and streamlined tower blocks harmonize with the surrounding high-rise office buildings. They are attenuated into an open-sided courtyard configuration, breaking down the “wall of buildings” effect and maximizing views and daylight into the building.

Sustainable features give a 30 per cent energy savings in the building operation. This has been reviewed by Singapore’s Building & Construction Authority which has awarded PARKROYAL on Pickering with the Green Mark Platinum status, the nation’s highest environmental certification.

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ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Wong Mun Summ is the founder of WOHA Architects Pte Ltd, an award-winning architecture practice, notable for its evolution and innovation. The firm intertwines profound awareness of local context and tradition, with an ongoing exploration of contemporary architecture form-making and ideas, thus creating a unique fusion of practicality and invention.

The firm’s ethos compels them to maintain sustainability for the community. Environmental principles have always been fundamental to their practice, which is guided by a commitment to responsive place-making and to the creation of an invigorating and sustainable architecture. For them, it is also about a better built environment for living creatures.

Mun Summ believes well-being is achieved through biophilia. It is natural to coexist with the animals and insects around us and hence important that buildings balance everything including nature. He realised early on that urbanisation is always taking away green spaces. Discipline is required to focus on creating design that is not only good to look at but that is also easy to maintain. He believes that the use of plants as architecture materials stems from understanding them, in order to look like they are “trained”. WOHA has created a 100m green wall in one of their earlier projects, Newton Suites, which is not only easy to maintain, but actually thriving.

That same consciousness prompted the design team to create for PARKROYAL on Pickering, green spaces that are the same size as Hong Lim Park, a green space which the building faces. They managed to achieve an unprecedented amount of greenery and landscaping in a high-rise development, integrating them in innovative ways that address urban design and sustainability, as well as creating a lush retreat in the heart of the city. The building achieved a remarkable green plot ratio of two.

The sky gardens are highly visible from the surrounding streets and buildings, working to soften hard edges and provide visual and environmental relief in the built-up city centre. Now apart from the buildings overlooking Hong Lim Park, buildings in the surrounding can also enjoy the green view.

In terms of scale, the landscaping amounts to 215 per cent of the site area, showing that even as cities become taller and denser, green spaces need not be compromised if they are adapted into high-rise typologies. This idea encourages Mun Summ to think of the possibility for every city to generate two times its own area of green.

Mun Summ believes that designers need to stay focused and committed. In the practice, it is always easy to compromise. He does not think WOHA has ever compromised. They have always found a way to work in a win-win manner. Good design is often about being prolific and generating many ideas so that it can be narrowed down to the ideal solution. Design is not one direction but often lateral.

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DESIGNER
WOHA Architects Pte Ltd

LANDSCAPE CONSULTANT
Tierra Design (S) Pte Ltd

CLIENT
UOL Group Limited

LIGHTING CONSULTANT
Lighting Planners Associates (S) Pte Ltd

CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
TEP Consultants Pte Ltd

MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL ENGINEER
BECA Carter Hollings & Ferner (S.E.Asia) Pte Ltd

QUANTITY SURVEYOR
Rider Levett Bucknall LLP

CONTRACTOR
Tiong Seng Contractors (Pte) Ltd

‘‘Designers need to enjoy what you do; if you do not, then you are doing the wrong thing. Designers need to keep to their commitment and do not compromise. What you do not compromise today is the highest standard you set for tomorrow. Designers need to keep the passion. It is a long journey, pace yourself. It will be a love affair where you will never be jilted!’’

Insights from the Recipient

What did you learn or take away from working on the design?

Sim Choon Heok: PARKROYAL on Pickering was designed as a hotel and office development in a garden. The project is a sturdy of how we can conserve our greenery in a built-up, high-density city and multiply it in a manner that is architecturally striking, integrated and sustainable. By relentlessly pursuing sustainable design, we learnt to design strategically the landscapes to be self-sustaining and to reply minimally on previous resources. Rainwater is collected from the upper floors to irrigate, by gravity, planters on the lower floors. Photovoltaic cell arrays on the roof power grow-lamps and soft-scape lighting, making these Singapore's, and perhaps the world's, first zero energy sky-gardens.

Citation

‘‘Designers need to enjoy what you do; if you do not, then you are doing the wrong thing. Designers need to keep to their commitment and do not compromise. What you do not compromise today is the highest standard you set for tomorrow. Designers need to keep the passion. It is a long journey, pace yourself. It will be a love affair where you will never be jilted!’’

Jury Citation

PARKROYAL on Pickering is a unique hotel that creates a lush resort experience in the heart of the city. The architects considered the site located between Hong Lim Park and Chinatown, varying open and enclosed volumes and allowing a porous solution to what might typically result in a monolithic urban block. The project strikes a balance environmentally, returning natural systems to the landscape it displaces.

From the surrounding streets, the sky gardens bring lush greenery into the hotel spaces and offer a measure of green relief to the surrounding streets. The open air corridors bring fresh air and an immediate connection to Chinatown. Cocoon-like hotel rooms provide comfort, privacy and glimpses of the city framed by the garden setting. The extremely complex planning and execution have been well considered down to small details, so that one feels exuberance in the overall design. The sustainable strategies with the vertical green walls open doors to future urban visions and further possibilities in a dense environment.

The Jury commends the project for solving a complex problem radically with imagination and flair, bringing lush greenery and integrated landscape to high-rise development.

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Nominator Citation

JOYCE SNG
ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
UOL GROUP LIMITED

An ideal working relationship between a developer and an architect is one where the architect produces a design fulfilling your brief. The perfect collaboration happens when the architect crystallises your vision, injects inspiration into drawings and realises it in the building.

PARKROYAL on Pickering started out with a clear vision as a hotel in the garden, drawing from its location within the Central Business District and proximity to Hong Lim Park. However, the site was not without constraints. The long and narrow footprint proved challenging in the design and planning of the hotel. We were certain that this project required the deft hand of an architect that could respond appropriately to the surrounding context and provide creative design solutions.

With One Moulmein Rise and Newton Suites as precedents of our long-standing partnership, there was faith in the thought process and rigour that WOHA could apply to PARKROYAL on Pickering. Sharing our vision, WOHA proposed a simple folding of the slab block that lengthens the elevation of the building facing Hong Lim Park.

This stroke of ingenuity contributed to the design that we see standing today. Open- sided courtyards were created, linked at the pool deck and sky gardens at four storey intervals. All guests can now enjoy the view of the lush greenery of Hong Lim Park and the landscaped terraces from their rooms.

We also entrusted WOHA with the interior design of the development to ensure seamless transition from the exterior to the interior spaces. The rapport and working relationship that we had built over the years assured us that WOHA had the ability to design a stunning building when given free rein to explore. Even when the project weathered the global financial crisis, we experienced first-hand how they were able to thoughtfully add value even when cutting cost, at no expense to the design.

PARKROYAL on Pickering has garnered overwhelming public interest and we see it growing as a new landmark within the existing urban landscape. The imageability of the project is largely defined by its stepped terraces and colonnade fronting Hong Lim Park. It is at once striking yet unimposing. Its appearance evokes intrigue and inquisition. Often we see pedestrians, both local and foreign, halting in their steps to photograph the building. Perhaps, they are drawn to the concrete contours that define the podium and the birdcage gazebos in an array of colours. Imagine the delight when they discover the hotel, pool deck and carpark contained within.

PARKROYAL on Pickering epitomises the unique experience of the Garden City. Its lush greenery and water bodies create an alluring ambience of nature right at the city centre. interestingly, it has redefined the notion of hotels located within the CBD. In the same way that our earlier residential developments with WOHA have left an indelible mark on designing high-rise tropical residences, this project will set new standards for green and sustainable hotels. As we strive to promote a design culture, due recognition must be given to designs that possess aspirational qualities, engage innovative ideas and produce commercial viability. PARKROYAL on Pickering is one such project and is truly deserving of the award.

OTHER RECIPIENTS

Hans Tan

DESIGNER OF THE YEAR 2018

Founder, Hans Tan Studio; and Assistant Professor, Division of Industrial Design,
National University of Singapore
Hans Tan Studio

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