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This plant-covered Singapore skyscraper could be the tropical building of the future

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Steel and glass skyscrapers may work in the climates of New York City or San Francisco, but in tropical Singapore they heat up fast. So WOHA Architects designed the sustainable 30-story Oasia Hotel Downtown, presenting a green vision for better tropical towers. Plants creeping across the facade and several sky gardens cool the structure naturally.

20 species of plants and flowering vines crawling across the aluminum mesh exterior afford the hotel located in Singapore’s Central Business District a lush appearance. Eventually the entire building should be covered with the plants. For now, guests can stay in one of 300 rooms and explore sky gardens in the tower.

The architects behind the project planted the greenery in a manner that wouldn’t require too much maintenance, as it’s hard to find “laborers who are both Spiderman and gardeners,” according to WOHA Architects co-founder Richard Hassell. And while the client’s goals weren’t necessarily sustainability or energy efficiency – they primarily wanted a stunning building – Hassell said he thinks the building design will offer significant energy savings.

He believes the Singapore hotel could offer a model for other tropical skyscrapers around the world, which could green up city skylines. He told Curbed, “What’s interesting is the emotional appeal it has for people all over the world…Examining the central business districts of so many cities is like looking at the moon from the Earth; one is filled with life, the other is just this collection of dead stone. With Oasia, we’ve seen so many birds and insects flying around the building. People respond so well to seeing a hummingbird flying right outside their office window.”

If the plants grow as planned, the tower could be more densely covered with verdant plant life in around a year.

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