Singapore is home to many towering buildings, reflected in its iconic skyline. Hiding in the midst of the concrete jungle are a different kind of plantation – the lush greenery of breathing plants. Take the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering; a tall building that boasts pools, planter terraces, mini-waterfalls, and cascading vertical greenery all within itself.
As most cities become increasingly urbanised, architects, and the authorities have to become more creative with their projects to keep access to green space convenient. Small parks are common in dense cities for people to get some fresh air to unwind or some space to exercise.
Mass planting trees along walkways are another way of increasing greenery, but sometimes the close proximity of buildings and pollution in the air from cars can be negative affect the trees’ growth. Trees need space and time to develop before they can start providing the benefits we seek.
Driven by sustainable design
In the new era of climate change, more emphasis is placed on a new building’s “green” credentials that lead to impactful decisions on its design, construction, and even operations. Nature-inspired designs and sustainable materials used in the construction of the building, and natural greenery are just some examples of green buildings of the future.
Improving the quality of life
Going past the greenery, the plant-covered buildings are a complex eco-system in itself. The plants help to introduce some fresh air by reducing the pollution and carbon dioxide levels, whilst also helping to cool down the area to reduce the feeling of being cooped up.
Natural greenery is an efficient way of introducing ventilation into corridors and rooms, and the fragrance of fresh greenery can work wonders to refresh your mind too. At times, the trees also attract a different kind of biodiversity in the form of birds and fauna.
1. PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering (Singapore)
Taking the lead in green buildings and sustainable design in Asia is PARKROYAL COLLECTION with their hotel in Pickering. Inspired by Singapore’s reputation as the city of parks, the building features indoor gardens and waterfalls built into its façade, with the rooms and offices offering a view of the little lush paradise.
Built in 2013, the building also maximises its design as part of their energy-saving measures. Some of the more sustainable designs is the collection of rainwater that is used to water the plants without having to turn on the pump, the external hotel corridors with its natural ventilation system, and the use of natural light in the rooms and spaces to reduce energy wastage.
2. ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall (Japan)
From one side, the ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall in Japan looks like your typical commercial brick and mortar building. But the other side has 15 stacked garden terraces that transforms the building into a modern interpretation of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
The green building came out of a protest by the Fukuoka citizens who didn’t want to give up one of the last remaining parks in the city – and architect Emilio Ambasz made everyone happy by building a park into the building.
3. Oasia Hotel Downtown (Singapore)
Designed by same architectural brains as PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, the red and green façade is a striking building in the middle of town in Singapore, amongst the shophouses in the Tanjong Pagar district.
Covered in vines, the trellis-like cladding provides a home for birds and insects as they host their hotel human guests. The 27-storey building might seem a bit smaller compared to its skyscraper counterparts, but it holds three outdoor swimming pools, including an infinity pool.
4. Nanjing Vertical Forest (China)
Stefano Boeri brings the forest to the city of Nanjing with his architectural prowess after the success of the Milan Vertical Forest. The forest stretches out over two buildings – an office building with a green architecture school and a museum, and a hotel managed by the Hyatt chain with a rooftop pool.
Along the sides of the building is a mix of balconies and plant containers that houses over 800 trees and 2,500 smaller plants from 27 native species. The genuine vertical forest is self-sustaining, and produces up to 16.5 tons of oxygen every year.
5. Seoul City Hall (Korea)
Instead of doing up the façade, the Seoul City Hall looked towards the inside of their building for their sustainable efforts that eventually won them a Guinness World for having one of the longest vertical garden wall. One of the gigantic seven-story walls along the insides of the solar-powered hall was turned into a garden after locals voted it as the worst structure after its unveiling.
With the eco-friendly upgrade, the Seoul City Hall is now a tourist hotspot and a healthy space, as the indoor plants help to reduce indoor pollutants and control the indoor temperature.
6. Namba Parks (Japan)
Rooftop gardens at the top of buildings and offices are becoming increasingly widespread in Japan, a country known for its high population density and urbanisation of its main cities.
But the most impressive structure probably goes to Namba Parks, which took over Osaka Stadium. The huge green oasis in Osaka’s streets includes 8 levels of sprawling gardens staggered in terraced balconies, 30 stories of offices, and a canyon path curves throughout the mall. If your eyes are sharp enough, you might even be able to spot the small personal vegetable gardens hidden in the canyon.
7. Forest City (Malaysia)
Malaysia went and upped the ante with a forest-inspired city instead of just a single building. The vehicle-free island will have residence building covered in vertical greeneries and sky gardens with a rooftop gardening system. The expansive greenery will keep the air purified, with fresh air and a coastline within 10km.
Located just 5km away from the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link in Tuas, the development is also convenient for those who want to purchase a property in Malaysia but still commute to Singapore.