WOHA is a Singapore based architectural practice co-founded by partners Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell in 1994. Their projects are located across various countries in SouthEast Asia, Australia, and China. They boast of an extensive range of built and upcoming projects including private residences, residential towers, hotels, Public transport transit stations, educational and cultural institutions. The architectural strategies and planning principles exercised across all projects strongly take into account global warming and subsequent climate change. Their practice is widely known for their integration with the built form and the creation of sustainable high-rise infrastructures in a tropical urban context.

WOHA have been recipients of multiple international awards such as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2007), International Highrise Award (2010), RIBA Lubetkin Award (2011), and Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival (2018).

1. Kampung Admiralty

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2017

Kampung Admiralty is an integrated public development that combines public facilities and services to maximize land use in the city and simultaneously meet the needs of Singapore’s aging population. The scheme is devised as a layering of 3 strata’s accommodating a community plaza, medical center, and residences for seniors opening into a community park. The community park is a series of landscaped terraces that connect the residents with nature and allows them to socialize, exercise, and tend to community farms. The Architects explain “The proximity to healthcare, social, commercial and other amenities support intergenerational bonding and promote active aging in place”

The Kampung Admiralty complex was named as the Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival (2018) in Amsterdam.

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2. Huaku Sky Garden

Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Project Year: 2017

The Huaku Sky Garden is a residential tower located at the base of the foothills of the Yang Ming mountain range. The architectural form is derived from the structural demands in an earthquake and typhoon sensitive region. A thick symmetrical structural frame interlinks two towers and forms the external façade reminiscent of a Chinese screen. The removal of the structural frame to the exterior allows for a column-free interior floor plan. A delicate metal lattice embellishes the elevation and acts as a shading device. The apartments are interlocking in sectional nature to achieve double-height terraces, natural cross-ventilation, and dual expansive views to the city and the mountains.

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3. Park Royal

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2013

Park Royal on Pickering was envisioned as a ‘Building in a garden’ drawing from the architect’s commitment to the idea of a green city. The hotel and office is an extension to the neighboring Hong Lim Park that is vertically realized within contoured terraces replete with sky gardens, plantations, reflecting pools, and waterfalls. The contoured podium matches the street scale and is sculpted to resemble natural topography that seamlessly flows into interior spaces. The 12 storey tower plan allows all rooms to overlook north into the park or sky gardens while the external corridors and services are concentrated on the south face of the building.

The Park Royal on Pickering is a recipient of Singapore’s highest environmental certification, the Green Mark Platinum.

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4. Alila Villas Uluwatu

Location: Bali, Indonesia
Project Year: 2009

The Alila Villas is a hotel and villa development that proposes luxury as the enjoyment of natural beauty without excess consumption. The design language imitates local farmers’ terraces to maximize views on the gentle slopes of the site. Building materials such as Balinese pumice rocks that aides with thermal insulation and sustainable timbers like bamboo and coconut have been locally sourced. The hotel rooms are imagined as inhabited gardens where terraced roofs and garden walls enclose the resident within nature. The preservative approach to the design allows the built form to be a gentle expression embracing the local skills, materials, flora, and vernacular elements of the region itself.

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5. Enabling Village

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2015

The Enabling Village is an adaptive reuse project that repurposed the Bulkit Merah Vocational Institute (1970) into a community building. It integrates programs of education, work, training, retail and caters to people with special needs and aides their integration with society. The building is imagined as a park and the neighborhood pedestrian network is incorporated within the scheme. The buildings were renamed as ‘Nest’, ‘Hive’, ‘Hub’, ‘Academy’, ‘Playground’ and ‘Village Green’ according to their respective functions are connected by a series of ramps, lifts, and landings. The ambiance of a park is created by landscaped courtyards and pools while the public spaces are designed using recycled materials and upcycling as a theme.

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6. The MET

Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Project Year: 2009

The MET is a residential skyscraper that reimagines ideas of urban living by implementing concepts of low-rise housing in Bangkok. Breaking away from the western typology of the skyscraper, The MET takes advantage of the tropical climate and introduces elements like terraces, outdoor gardens, and verandas. A perforated frame structure for the passage of wind through gardens and swimming pools to create pleasant microclimates in the project. The towers are bridged with sky gardens that offer the residents common areas for various amenities. The apartments are designed with balconies and full height glazing to maximize daylight while weather protection is provided by shading devices and green walls. Arranged in a staggered format, allowing for cross ventilation of wind and opening up to dual views of the city and the river.

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7. School of the Arts

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2009

The School of the Arts is an academy for the visual and performing arts located in the heart of Singapore’s civic district. The design is a dual strategy of responding to the larger art community by creating porous, social spaces on the lower levels and catering to the school area by providing secure private spaces for education on the higher levels. These are labeled as the Backdrop and The Blank Canvas respectively. The Backdrop includes several performing spaces that allow the school to communicate with the public realm. The Blank canvas includes classrooms and studio spaces across three rectangular blocks bridged by visual and physical links. The green façades act as barriers for dust and heat while allowing natural ventilation within the blocks in the humid city. The rooftop also adds to the green cover as a recreation park accommodating a 400m running track.

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8. Design Orchard

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2019

Located at a prominent junction of Singapore’s Orchard Road, the Design Orchard conceptually moves away from the traditional and introduces new paradigms within a retail establishment. The building integrates upscale retail outlets on the ground level with coworking creative spaces that act as a breeding ground for newer ideas and imaginations for young designers on the first and second levels. The rooftop is a landscaped public space that rises in tiers to form an urban amphitheater and stage alongside a shaded park and a café often used by designers to showcase their merchandise. The street edge of the building is punctured with circular-shaped openings that allow natural light and ventilation and a centrally located atrium visually ties together the interior spaces to form a cohesive scheme of ideation, production, retail and display spaces.

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9. Bras Basah Mass Rapid Transit Station

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2010

The Bras Basah MRT Station is a unique solution developed to address two major conflicting design requirements of an underground transit station. Located in the historic civic district of Singapore against the backdrop of the Singapore Art Museum it required the station to disappear within the landscape. The depth of the station required a visual connection to the exterior and created a pleasant and well-lit interior for the commuters. A single strategy consisting of a glass roof filled with water that acts as a skylight for the station and appears as a water feature when viewed from the street. The building is a non-obtrusive architectural form well suited to its context whilst meeting all requirements for the district as well as commuters.

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10. 48 North Canal Road

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2012

WOHA was commissioned to design a new boutique office along with the reconstruction of heritage-listed shophouses. The shophouses were redesigned by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment authority Guidelines. The front end of these shophouses became the meeting rooms owing to their retained low ceiling heights. The upper four floors allowed for higher headroom and more daylight for open-plan offices with a maximized floor plate. The deep plan is carved into by a central courtyard park around which the cafes, break out areas, and meeting rooms are organized. This gesture humanizes the 9 storey scale of the building. The flat roof areas are also proposed as roof gardens and the curtain wall system is conceived as a series of perforated aluminum panels acting as a shading device for the building.

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11. Newton Suites

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2007

The Newton Suites is a 36 storey development incorporating 118 apartments offering expansive views to the Bukit Timah nature reserve and the Singapore city skyline. The design integrates a contemporary architectural form with the landscape to create a sustainable urban habitat. The project uses landscaping as an element on most available vertical and horizontal surfaces as screens, outdoor protruding balconies, rooftop plantations to create pleasant indoor and outdoor climates as a passive design strategy. Cross ventilation allows the units to be comfortable in the tropical climate without mechanical ventilation and the services for apartments have been concentrated at the rear end. The landscaped common areas further help blur the line between the indoors and outdoors and allow the architecture and landscape to merge.

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12. Iluma

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2009

Iluma is a retail and entertainment development in the Bugis Street of Singapore, well known as an arts, education, and entertainment district. A curvaceous sculpted form cladded in vibrant colors is set against the backdrop of a rectilinear block in monochrome shades of grey and white creating a dramatic juxtaposition of architectural form. The building responds to its surroundings by continuing the pedestrian network at the street and first level. The internal activities are visually interlinked with an atrium that spans across all levels, divided into an upper and lower atrium where the entertainment and retail activities are respectively located. The project features an animated crystal media façade composed of faceted jewel-like fixtures that act as a canvas to display fast-moving text, graphics, and images built to support artists, events, and activities within the community.

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13. Intercontinental Sanya Resort

Location:Sanya, China
Project Year: 2011

The Intercontinental Sanya Resort is a massive hotel development comprising 350 guest rooms. The overall design expression encapsulates the villas, rooms, parks, pools, and amenities within a garden. A majority of the hotel rooms are arranged within a W shaped plan with orthogonal green roofs inspired by the rice paddy fields of Sanya creating a patchwork of gardens across the site. Passive design strategies such as deep overhangs, shading screens, and cross ventilation aid in minimizing cooling costs. The use of natural and local materials teamed with regional craftsmanship and technology helps create a sustainable definition of luxurious resort living in a tropical environment.

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14. NEST House

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2011

The Nest House in Singapore derives its name from a porous lattice of timber and aluminum weaved into a curved screen across all living spaces as a design language for this home in the tropics. Behind this filigree stand living spaces on the ground level oriented towards a neighboring plot rendering homage to the patriarch. The upper sanctuary is a series of staggered solid blade walls set in a random matrix of modular stone and precast blocks. The building envelope adds a layer of privacy while catching cross-breezes and reflect daylight within the double-story volumes. Passive design strategies using simple innovative materials create a sustainable architectural language for the home.

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15. Oasia Hotel Downtown

Location: Singapore
Project Year: 2016

Oasia Hotel Downtown was conceived as a living tower detracting from the idea of a sealed air-conditioned skyscraper. The striking façade composed of a red aluminum mesh cladding is a canvas for verdant vegetation that introduces bio-diversity to an otherwise urbanized context. The different spaces used as offices, hotels, club rooms, and interjected with a sky garden to allow generous open areas for recreation and social interaction. The perforated nature of the façade allows ample cross ventilation ensuring the interior spaces are comfortable, naturally lit, and ventilated. The skyscraper roof is a tropical bower reminiscent of a gazebo offering a place of unexpected serenity in the heart of a dynamic city.

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Author

Architectural Journalist

RTF

Mumbai

Ami Mody is a graduate from KRVIA (Mumbai) practicing as an Architect and Interior Designer. She is a voracious reader, interested in the themes of Gender, Space and Politics and their intersection with the built form. She believes the greatest joy in life comes from travelling and a good meal.

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