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Designs revealed for treetop accommodation at nature-based Singapore Zoo resort

Designs revealed for treetop accommodation at nature-based Singapore Zoo resort
May 23, 2019

Mandai Park Holdings has announced the appointment of Singapore-based WOW Architects to design a nature-based resort experience that will feature 24 elevated treehouses set among the site’s vegetation.

Part of 338-room resort being built in the area that currently houses the Singapore Zoo’s back-of-house facilities, the  resort’s standard and family rooms will offer views into the rainforest while 24 elevated treehouses are being designed in the shape of seed-pods and will be set among the trees surrounding the resort.

Scheduled to open in 2023, the resort will be carefully integrated into the 4.6-hectare site, which will be enriched through the planting of native tree species.

Speaking on the appointment, Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) Chief Executive, Mike Barclay advised “WOW Architects’ concept demonstrated the best design response to our brief, one that will bring our guests closer to nature.

“We have brought together the strengths of two home-grown brands, WOW Architects and Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts. We are confident that they will be able to translate our vision into the design and operations for our new resort.

“Through carefully crafted design features and programmed activities, the Mandai resort experience will encourage guests to be conscious of and care for the plants and animals in the surrounding rainforest. This is consistent with our core belief that we must all work together to protect wildlife.”

WOW Architects’ concept is sympathetic to the existing vegetation and treelines as well as natural topography. Wherever possible, the resort is elevated several metres above the ground to allow native wildlife to move across the site. It is also designed to be unobtrusive, sitting below the upper canopy layer of the surrounding trees. In addition to extensive planting at the roof and façade of the resort buildings, more than half the trees on the site will be retained, of which 40% are of conservation value. The re-greening effort will enhance the site’s biodiversity through thoughtful planting strategies that will both promote native species on the site of the resort and double the number of trees from today.

Aiming to be the first Super Low Energy (SLE) resort in Singapore, active steps will be taken to adopt sustainable and environmentally-friendly best practices. The design will incorporate a host of energy saving measures including the use of natural ventilation, mixed mode air-conditioning and solar panels. The treehouses will also feature passive displacement ventilation, a solution that cools air using chilled water rather than traditional air conditioning compressor units.

The resort will actively engage guests to promote environmental awareness, sustainable best practices and the conservation of biodiversity. For example, guests 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 wildlife parks and nature-themed indoor attractions where the guests will be able to enjoy a specially curated programme of activities, including behind-the-scenes programmes, guided nature walks and hand-on activities. These activities will promote a conscious way of life, one that is more in harmony with the natural world.

As the lead design architect, WOW Architects will be working alongside a team of specialist consultancies to ensure the sustainable design and development of the resort. The consultancies involved are 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 inputs across a variety of functions that are relevant to the resort’s design and development including landscape, education, sustainability, ecology, horticulture and acoustics.

Images: Architect's rendering of treehouses at the resort (top) and illlustration of a treehouse room. Rooms are designed to blur the boundaries between nature and living spaces, allowing guests to come closer to nature (below). Courtesy of Mandai Park Holdings.

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