Treehouses in the shape of seed pods feature in WOW Architects’ design for the biophilic Mandai resort, which will be run by Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts.
31 May, 2019
Come 2023, guests at a new ‘conscious stay’ resort in Mandai will find themselves immersed in nature and being encouraged to build sentiment toward the plants and animals in the surrounding rainforest.
WOW Architects’ biophilic resort design incorporates 24 elevated treehouses in the shape of seed pods set among the trees. The treehouses have been designed with best-practice principles for sustainable design. The Mandai resort aims to be Singapore’s first ever ‘Super Low Energy’ (SLE) resort.
The 4.6-hectare site currently houses the Singapore Zoo’s back-of-house facilities. WOW Architects’ design will integrate the resort’s 338 rooms (a mix of standard and family rooms) with the site for an immersive effect. Buildings will be placed in sympathy with the existing vegetation, treelines and natural topography.
The site will be enriched through the planting of native tree species in a re-greening effort. More than half of the trees on the site will be retained – 40 per cent of them bearing conservation value.
Wherever possible, the buildings comprising the Mandai resort will be elevated several metres above the ground to allow native wildlife to move across the site. Rooflines will sit below the upper canopy layer of the surrounding trees. Facade and roof planting will bolster the effect of being immersed in greenery.
Energy-saving measures such as the use of natural ventilation, mixed-mode air-conditioning and solar panels will be incorporated. The treehouses will also feature passive displacement ventilation.
Says Wong Chiu Man, Managing Director of WOW Architects, “We are excited to be part of a project that aims to be an exemplary showcase of sustainable development practices. Our building and its systems adopt a biophilic attitude, by blending into nature and becoming part of it, while creating an engaging and comfortable environment for the guests.”
He continues, “The resort was designed with the native flora and fauna as inspiration, and the architecture and interior design will showcase the biodiversity of Mandai for guests to appreciate and learn from. When completed, the building and the landscape will become a holistic, immersive experience.”
The ‘conscious stay’ concept will also be played out through operational aspects and the programming of guest activities. For example, guests at the Mandai resort will be encouraged to reduce energy and water consumption in their rooms, to practice recycling, to dispose their food waste responsibly, and be respectful of the surrounding flora and fauna. At the doorstep of the resort will be all the existing wildlife parks and nature-themed indoor attractions.
WOW Architects is working alongside a team of consultants including Atelier Ten (Environmental Sustainability Design), Arup (Mechanical & Electrical), Bo Steiber (Lighting), Ramboll Environ (Ecology), Ramboll Studio Drieseitl (Landscape Architect), Warner Wong Design (Interior Design) and Web Structures (Structural Engineers).
A working group consisting of academics and professionals will also provide guidance and expert input across landscape, education, sustainability, ecology, horticulture and acoustics issues.
The Mandi resort is part of a larger rejuvenation project in the Mandai precinct, being driven by Mandai Park Holdings. The wider project envisions the Mandai precinct as an integrated nature and wildlife destination, building on its existing attractions such as the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.
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