For Singapore’s Oasia Hotel Downtown, the architects at WOHA combined innovative ways to intensify land use with a tropical approach that showcases a perforated, permeable, furry tower of green in the heart of the Central Business District. Today, seven years after the building has been completed, its distinctive red mesh facade acts as a giant thriving trellis for 21 types of creeper plants, and even the occasional squirrel.
The greenery performs many valuable ecosystem services, which refer to the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems, including provisioning services such as food, water, and raw materials, regulating services such as climate regulation and disease control, supporting services such as nutrient cycling and soil formation, and cultural services such as recreation and aesthetic enjoyment.
In the case of Oasia Hotel Downtown, an ecosystem service evaluation by biomimicry design firm bioSEA showed that despite being a compact development, the direct shading offered by the planted facade significantly reduced the amount of heat trapped within the development. In fact, the surface temperature of the building is more than 20 degrees Celsius cooler than other buildings in the district and due to the greenery provision being ten times that of its footprint, the building performed up to 68% as well as a pristine rainforest would, in terms of ecosystem service provision.
As cities become more dense, how can we also make them more sustainable?