Oases in the Sky

John Hill
25. January 2019
Photo: Joseph Goh

WOHA's Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore is a striking, 27-story tower we've featured numerous times in our Magazine. Here we take a look at the elevated, open-air swimming pools designed by Patricia Urquiola, who also handled the hotel's interior design.

Project: Oasia Hotel Downtown, 2016
Location: Singapore
Client: Far East SOHO Pte Ltd
ArchitectWOHA, Singapore
Project Team: Wong Mun Summ, Richard Hassell, Phua Hong Wei, Bernard Lee, Kim Young Beom, Evelyn Ng, Christina Ong, Huang Yue, Larissa Tan, Chen Shunann, Iyan Mulyadi, Oscar Korintus, Victoria Meadows, Simopoulou Olympia Konstantinou, Donovan Soon, Ang Chow Hwee, Dennis Kwek
Interior Designer: Studio Patricia Urquiola, Milan
Manufacturer: Agrob Buchtal, German Stoneware Cremer & Breuer AG
Product: Ceramic tiles system ChromaPlural

Photo: Joseph Goh

Oasia Hotel Downtown, named by CTBUH as the 2018 Best Tall Building Worldwide, is distinctive for a couple reasons. First is its skin: bright red aluminum mesh panels that have been taken over since the tower's completion in 2016 by 21 species of creepers in nearly 1,800 planter boxes. The red cladding, selected by the architects as a complementary backdrop to the green vegetation, is pierced by a series of large, urban-scale "windows" to create the second: sky terraces at the 6th, 12th, and 21st floors; a fourth terrace sits on the roof beneath the tower's mesh crown (top photo). These multi-story terraces are the settings for outdoor relaxing, including the pools designed by Studio Patricia Urquiola.

Photo: Patrick Bingham-Hall

The stacking of the large sky terraces divides the tower into four zones (see building section at bottom), which Urquiola embraced, giving each zone inside the tower its own character through color. She designed custom furnishings for the hotel's 314 rooms, which are marked by earthy tones, woods and subtle touches of copper.

Photo: Joseph Goh

Similarly, each pool has its own character. The one adjacent to the lounge club on the 21st floor, for instance, is 1.2-meters deep with a chevron pattern (photo above) of light- and dark-blue tiles from Agrob Buchtal's CromaPlural system. The pool also features an ankle-deep wading pool (photo below) where guests can cool off their feet while enjoying a cocktail and taking in views of the Singapore skyline.

Photo: Joseph Goh

The rooftop pool, on the other hand, is a more intimate affair due to the overgrown red mesh extending 43 meters above the roof. The tiles of the two 1.2-meter pools (divided by a restaurant in the center of the roof) are simple, expressing the varied depths. Here the pool design doesn't try to compete with the building enclosure and the steel structure that guests can get close to (photo below) as they lounge in this rooftop oasis.

Photo: Joseph Goh
Drawing: WOHA

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