The beacon of Tanjong Pagar

By
/ The Edge Property
|
July 4, 2016 8:00 AM SGT
Standing out like a siren-red beacon amid the ubiquitous glass and steel commercial and residential blocks in Tanjong Pagar is the 27-storey Oasia Hotel Downtown. Designed by WOHA Architects and developed by Far East Organization, the mixed-use commercial development obtained its temporary occupation permit in December 2015. “We wanted to design a building that is distinctive and elegant,” says Phua Hong Wei, associate at WOHA. “It wasn’t purely an ego trip.”
Far East Organization won the site located at the corner of Gopeng Street and Peck Seah Street in a government land tender in January 2011 with a bid of $194.77 million ($932 psf per plot ratio). WOHA was roped in to design the tower at the tender stage. “We remained true to the essence of the original concept and design,” says Phua.
The distinctive red, 27-storey Oasia Hotel Downtown designed by WOHA was completed last December - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The distinctive red, 27-storey Oasia Hotel Downtown designed by WOHA was completed last December
Site challenges
One of the challenges for the architect was the size of the site, which measured just 50m by 50m, or about 2,300 sq m. Besides the small footprint, the site was also hemmed in by surrounding buildings, says Phua. “It’s similar to New York, where buildings have limited views. So, we carved out internal spaces as sky terraces to create views.”
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Another challenge was designing three distinct zones within the tower — loft offices, hotel rooms and club floors. WOHA’s solution was to design three L-shaped blocks stacked on top of each other and rotated in different directions so they have different views depending on their orientation.
Each zone has its own sky terrace and amenities floor. For the office suites, the sky terrace is on the sixth floor, which is also where the meeting rooms, dining pods, swimming pool, aqua gym and gym are located. The hotel reception, lounge, lawn, swimming pool and other facilities are located on the 12th floor. For the club floors on the upper levels, there is a reception lobby, swimming pools and other facilities on the 21st floor, exclusively for guests in the club rooms. The roof terrace on the 27th floor has a swimming pool that opens up to the sky and a restaurant that the public can access.
The swimming pool for club room guests on the 21st floor - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The swimming pool for club room guests on the 21st floor
The main lobby on the ground floor with The Marmalade Pantry - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The main lobby on the ground floor with The Marmalade Pantry
The Cin-Cin wine bar and restaurant on the ground floor - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The Cin-Cin wine bar and restaurant on the ground floor
The sky pavilion on the club floor - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The sky pavilion on the club floor. Source: Far East Organization
The main lobby on the ground floor has a lounge area and two F&B outlets, namely The Marmalade Pantry and the Cin-Cin wine bar and restaurant, which are open to the public. The office component, namely PS100, has its own entrance lobby on the ground floor as well.
The 314-room Oasia Hotel Downtown spans the 12th to 27th floors of the tower and includes 88 club rooms. PS100 is on the 7th to 11th floors. It comprises 100 loft-style offices, with unit sizes ranging from 420 to 520 sq ft and a ceiling height of 5m. These offices are furnished with bathroom and kitchenette. When they were released in March 2012, demand was so overwhelming that all the units were snapped up in the first weekend of the launch.
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The average price of the 99-year leasehold units was $3,000 psf. About 60% of the buyers of the loft offices were said to be Singaporeans and permanent residents, while corporate buyers accounted for another 20%. The buyers represented a wide spectrum of businesses, such as shipping/ logistics, investment, trading, business consultancy and professional services.
Recent transaction prices were at an average of $3,160 psf for a bulk purchase of units on the 10th floor last December and $3,194 psf for a 517 sq ft unit on the seventh floor that was sold in March for $1.65 million, according to caveats lodged with URA Realis. The average rent achieved from January to June were $5.34 psf a month, according to URA data.
Façade
The exterior of the building is enveloped with expanded aluminium mesh polycoated in five shades of red, including orange, rust and salmon pink. “From afar, depending on the light, it looks like a reddish or pinkish sculpture,” says Lee Shee Koeng, executive director of the property services division at Far East Organization. “But up-close, you will see that it’s made of panels of various shades, like the tiny pixels of a television screen.”
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A lot of attention has also been given to the landscaping, with 21 species of flowering plants and vines planted on the apron of the building. The species were selected based on their adaptability to the sun and the shade conditions of the building at various times of the day. “Over time, as the greenery grows and the creepers start to climb upwards, the building will look like a red flower set among green foliage,” says WOHA’s Phua.
By having plants growing on the exterior of the building, occupants inside the tower will be able to enjoy a view of the greenery when they look out, says Far East Organization’s Lee. “Typically, when you’re in an office building in the CBD, you’re either staring at a neighbouring office building, someone’s workplace or a distant view of the sea, depending on which floor you’re on.”
Beyond aesthetics, the external layer of aluminium mesh with its green covering helps reduce heat absorption, explains Lee. “It’s a more sustainable and natural approach.”
Far East Organization’s Lee (left) and WOHA’s Phua - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Far East Organization’s Lee (left) and WOHA’s Phua
Lifestyle elements
A lot of thought has been put into the lifestyle elements, especially in the interiors designed by Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. In keeping with the nature theme, earth tones were used. For instance, copper interior walls, timber lattice panelling and patterned tiles designed by Urquiola were used in the common areas as well as the individual hotel rooms. “The development is designed as an urban oasis — a retreat within the city,” says Lee.
It is also about creating a holistic experience, notes WOHA’s Phua. When hotel guests arrive at the main lobby, they will be whisked up to the reception lobby on the 12th floor, which opens out to a sky terrace. “Being in an elevated space within the heart of the CBD and yet there’s natural light, fresh air and plenty of greenery — that’s what sets this building apart,” he says.
The hotel reception on the 12th floor, with a lounge overlooking the open-air sky garden. Source: Far East Organization - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The hotel reception on the 12th floor, with a lounge overlooking the open-air sky garden. Source: Far East Organization
This article appeared in the The Edge Property pullout of Issue 735 (July 4, 2016) of The Edge Singapore.
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