The glass high-rises in Singapore’s commercial district will soon get a neighbor of an altogether different color. The Oasia Downtown tower by WOHA will be literally clad in greenery, with multiple levels of the building completely open for gardens stacked one upon another. The design brings the tropics into the heart of the city with a greenscaped core, and the building will also be naturally cooled, saving energy while providing ample places for occupants to stroll through the gardens.
We have seen many green-laced tower proposals and several large-scale completed projects. The ratio of the Oasia Downtown’s footprint to its vegetated surfaces is 750%, so the building may just be the tallest vegetated building in the world when completed in 2014. The design team aimed to create lush views inwards from every room. The building is hollowed out, and its program is set to one side or the other – the areas in between hold large open expanses filled with trees, flowers, and creeping vines. Four floors will act as verandas, providing a park-like experience.
The building will be composed of a hotel, a club, and restaurants, and it will be capped with an extraordinary garden roof crowned in a cover of foliage. The open design of the building will provide plentiful natural cooling, enhanced by the cooling effect of the plants and shading. When the breeze is insufficient, giant high volume low velocity fans suspended from the ceilings will cool guests down. The design is a potent view of how architecture can be humanized again, making us more connected to our environment even in the heart of a bustling city.