Cover The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, designed by W Architects and Tierra Design, houses several experiential green exhibits Image: Courtesy of Teo Zi Tong, via Terra Design

Featured on a recent set of commemorative stamps from Singapore's local postal service, these noteworthy eco-conscious buildings in Singapore are among the projects celebrated by the past editions of the President*s Design Award

While our ability to travel is still limited by restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, you may not actually have to journey far from home for design inspiration.

With its vision to become a globally renowned Garden City, Singapore has been known for its lush urban parks and flourishing tropical greenery. And this extends to the eco-conscious landmarks here, each designed to be attuned to our tropical context.

Recently, Singapore's postal service SingPost launched a series of six stamps to celebrate six of such architectural marvels constructed in the past decade. The six developments on the stamps are: Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Oasia Hotel Downtown, Kampung Admiralty, Jewel Changi Airport, SkyTerrace@Dawson, and Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. The first five projects have all been awarded the Design of the Year accolade from the President*s Design Award (P*DA), while the Lee Kong Chian museum was designed by two of the P*DA’s Designer of the Year recipients.  

See also: How Architects Are Bringing More Greenery To Singapore With Biophilic Design

The stamps, measuring 81.6 mm each, are the tallest stamps issued in Singapore’s history—its height is intended to echo the scale of these buildings. Here, we discuss these significant landmarks and the design intent behind them.

See also: Why Smart Homes and Biophilic Design are Growing in Popularity

1. Oasia Hotel Downtown

This impressive tropical skyrise easily stands out amidst the sea of steely skyscrapers around it. Designed by local architecture firm WOHA, the 27-storey hotel’s distinctive red mesh facade is designed to support the large variety of green creepers and flowering plants covering the exterior.

The hotel also features several sky gardens and terraces throughout the building, providing a lush respite for guests. With an overall greenery replacement over ten times the site area, the building is a green oasis in the urban environment.

See also: 6 Nature-Inspired Hotels and Resorts with Elements of Biophilic Design

2. Jewel Changi Airport

Upon its opening, Jewel Changi Airport impressed both locals and travellers alike with its striking indoor waterfall and verdant foliage throughout the expansive space. Led by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie of Safdie Architects, the airport mall is built on the site of a former carpark.

The eye-catching waterfall feature, which currently holds the title of the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, showers water 40m down and collects rainwater from thunderstorms to be reused. The dome features over 2,000 trees and palms and over 100,000 shrubs. The tiered gardens in the mall create a rich and vibrant interior that encourages visitors to soak in their lush surroundings.

See also: 5 Minutes With ... Moshe Safdie, The Architect Of Marina Bay Sands And Jewel Changi Airport

3. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Situated on the campus of the National University of Singapore, the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum stores the world’s largest collection of specimens from Southeast Asia. W Architects helmed the design and construction of the building, working with Tierra Design for the landscaping.

The building exterior features a six-storey cliff-like cleft opening that contains a plethora of plants native to Singapore. Inside, the museum features a series of interactive exhibits with greens such as freshwater mangroves, palms, and other native flowering plants. These exhibits line the way between the geodetic main building and the supporting laboratory facilities, encouraging one to stop and appreciate the plants on their journey between the buildings.

Other green elements include a phylogenetic garden on the east side of the building, and a beach-like environment with interactive mangrove pools on the north of the museum. 

See also: Editors' Picks: The Local Tours and Tourist Attractions that We Love in Singapore

4. SkyTerrace@Dawson

Created by SCDA Architects, this development explores the new possibilities of public housing. Comprising five residential towers that each feature 40-43 storeys, the lofty building embodies the idea of living in a park. 

The site plan was created to link to the park connectors located on the north and south boundaries. The ground plan features lush landscaping that treks up and about the building in the form of landscaped sky terraces and roof gardens. The team also innovatively utilised sustainable design technology such as rainwater harvesting, solar energy systems, and drip irrigation.

See also: How SCDA Designed The Singapore Art Museum's New Look

5. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

Designed by local development consultant CPG Consultants and international architectural firm RMJM, the design of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital has created a new benchmark for healthcare institutions. The public hospital contains 550 beds and 38 specialist clinics, serving the healthcare needs of more than 700,000 people living in the north of Singapore.

The building exterior is surrounded by verdant foliage. Inside, the wards not only feature panoramic views of the leafy landscape, but are also designed to maximise both natural ventilation and daylight. The eco-friendly hospital also boasts several sustainable features, such as roof solar panels that heat up water and louvers that minimises the need for air-conditioning in public areas by channeling wind through the interior.

See also: Banksy’s Latest Artwork in a UK Hospital Pays Tribute To Covid-19 Healthcare Workers

6. Kampung Admiralty

Singapore’s first integrated public housing development for the elderly, Kampung Admiralty was designed by WOHA Architects as an urban village for the seniors. The 11-storey development houses 104 flats designed for the elderly, as well as facilities such as a medical centre, senior care centre, and a child care centre. Other amenities throughout the expansive building include several retail and dining outlets, as well as a 900-seat hawker centre.

The structure features tiers of landscaping on the exteriors of the various levels. An array of courtyards can be found throughout the complex, while the top levels feature sky gardens that double as a space for the elderly to gather for outdoor physical activities. Located in the heart of the neighbourhood, the inclusive space has been hailed as a project to refer to when designing for cities with ageing societies.

See also: How Architects Have Made High-Rise Living More Comfortable in Singapore With Their Designs

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