Singapore’s WOHA captures this year’s prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize for The Met, Bangkok.
11 October, 2011
Earlier this month, The Met in Bangkok, Thailand by WOHA took home the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture.
With this win, WOHA becomes the first Singapore firm to receive the award in a stiff competition that, this year, included such projects as Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House and Foster + Partners’ Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Photos by Patrick Bingham-Hall
The Met is a 66-storey residential skyscraper with outdoor spaces, balconies and gardens. With wind speeds at that height being considerable, the building has been designed as a perforated tower with holes that allow air to be drawn up vertical voids in the structure to provide natural ventilation to flats at all levels.
WOHA’s founding director Wong Mun Summ describes the win as “significant”.
“This award recognises our efforts and innovation,” says Wong.
“The rate of urbanisation in Asian cities is alarming and is going to continue for decades to come. The majority of buildings being built in cities are housing and yet many of the residential buildings built are based on the New York/Chicago tower model with maximum floor to surface area. This is particularly not suitable for residential towers in the tropical region. We have been studying and developing solutions and strategies for high-rise high-density solutions that are contextual and humane.”
Wong also gives his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities with this project.
“Tall buildings scale and human scale are vastly different. One of the main challenges of high-rise residential towers is to address the alienation of tall buildings by emphasising on the individual in terms of human scale, choice and comfort, while opening up to the climate, community spaces and nature.
“The Met provided WOHA with the opportunity to investigate the quality of external spaces in high-rise towers. The apartments are houses in the sky with breezeways, full exposure to light and views, outdoor living areas, planters and high-rise gardens, and open-air communal terraces with barbeques, libraries, spas and other facilities.
“Sky terraces, both private and public, link the blocks every 5 storeys, creating dramatic yet human-scaled external spaces. The building is planted on every horizontal surface, including private balconies, creating an almost 100% landscape ratio. Vertical faces are shaded by creeper screens, all apartments are cross ventilated, and all face north and south. The staggered block arrangement gives the apartments light and air on all 4 sides.
“The design makes it possible to live without air-conditioning,” says Wong.
Photo by Kirsten Bucher
WOHA’s upcoming projects include the PARKROYAL hotel development in Singapore, and a high-rise residence in Mumbai. The firm’s much talked about Space Asia Hub for Space Furniture in Singapore has also just opened its doors.
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