The best tall building

The best tall building

The US-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced the winner and finalists of its 2015 Urban Habitat Award. Singapore Parkroyal on Pickering, a ‘hotel in a garden’, has won the top prize this year.

The ‘garden hotel’ has integrated landscaping and pedestrian links. The jury also named four other projects – one each in Singapore, Sydney, Shanghai and Paris – as the finalists for their notable contribution to their urban environments.

The Urban Habitat Award was launched in 2014 to recognise the contributions that tall buildings have made to the urban realm. This year, the winners were chosen for influencing their environment and cultural context intelligently, and adding social sustainability to their immediate site and wider context.

Located in the midst of Singapore’s high-density city centre, Parkroyal on Pickering achieves its ‘hotel in a garden’ concept through extensive amounts of landscaping carefully integrated into the building’s design. A contoured podium responds to the street scale and it draws inspiration from terraced landscapes such as rice paddies.

The contours create dramatic outdoor plazas and gardens, flowing seamlessly into its interiors. Designed by the Singapore based architecture firm, WOHA architects, the Parkroyal on Pickering appears to hover above the ground, resting on a series of columns that resemble the trunks of trees. This structural solution opens up the footprint underneath the building, and it makes way for an expansive vegetated buffer between the street and a covered walkway that encircles the perimeter.

As a result, the ‘urban verandah’ establishes a cool, protected thoroughfare along the whole block. A notable feature is that there are 15,000 square metres of plantings, water features, terraces and green walls in the many sky gardens.