The unique experience of WOHA’s Oasia Hotel Downtown; houses that affect through space and form; and much more in our latest issue.
12 December, 2016
In some ways it seems odd to talk about experiences of space. Every moment, and every space, provides an experience; it’s just that some leave much stronger impressions than others. The spaces of the latter variety are those that can affect how we imagine architecture and design, and how we conceive of our relationship to our built environment.
I experienced such spaces during a visit to the Oasia Hotel Downtown by WOHA – Singapore’s new ‘furry’, living red and green tower. In fact, standing on one of the building’s multiple sky terraces, I enjoyed an experience of architecture that cannot be had anywhere else on the island (and probably nowhere else in the world): that of standing in the centre of a high-rise building in the open air and looking out past gardens to city views in all four directions. It was a surreal, memorable and powerful experience – one that balances with the impact of WOHA’s challenge to the all-too-easily adopted skyscraper typology of the temperate West.
At the house featured on our cover, titled House 24, Park + Associates created a screened courtyard as an exercise in rethinking the conventional entry sequence of a home. The serene, layered space they designed borders on the ritualistic – a sequential transition through light and shadow from the street to the private domain, all the while functioning like a lens to the weather and the natural system of the garden elements.
Many more of the projects featured in this issue offer similarly impactful encounters – the soaring volumes and unexpected sight lines within house #5 by Studio Wills + Architects and the theatre of shadows within restaurant 1945 by RT+Q Architects among them. But it is in our ‘Portfolio’ feature that we get down to a direct discussion about ‘experience’ with WOW Architects.
The creation of extraordinary sensory experiences, or ‘wow’ sensations, is something the firm’s Directors Maria Warner Wong and Wong Chiu Man set out to achieve in all their projects. “Our design is not about creating objects, icons or monuments. It’s about creating consciously choreographed experiences that are rooted in culture, memory and place,” says Maria. And with that statement she sums up the essence of a powerful experience of space: it gets us thinking about how we dwell and forges new memories while it draws on older ones. Any advocate of a well considered built environment could not fault that sort of reflection upon the spaces we encounter.
Also in issue 83, a round up of the fantastic Saturday that was Singapore Indesign 2016; profiles on some recent international visitors to Singapore – Ryue Nishizawa and Ron Arad; a look at the potential of hospitality thinking in the workspace via the Singapore studio of Geyer; a new-generation hostel for millennial travellers by Ministry of Design; The Lo & Behold Group’s setting for the coming together of people and place at its new headquarters designed by John Lim and OWMF Architecture; the shimmering environment of a Kuala Lumpur fine dining restaurant designed by S:lab 10; a journey into the visionary world of Danish brand Vola; and special insights in an edited transcript of the Singapore Indesign 2016 ‘Design Conversation’ on future-proofing our city for an ageing population.
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