They say necessity is the mother of invention. Today, many lessons in inventiveness come from places where pressures of global warming and urbanization are most acute. Buildings that put new ideas to the test should be studied carefully.
Singapore-based WOHA Architects has developed a catalogue of radical prototypes that supports a philosophy of sustainable coexistence. WOHA argues that the way forward is skyward: a Garden City populated by vertical, hyper-dense structures. Their toolkit of design strategies adds valuable terminology and indicators to a growing field of living architecture.
WOHA’s structures question traditional urban paradigms. Their latest book, GARDEN CITY MEGA CITY, as well as their recent shows at the Museum of the City of Mexico, the Time Space Existence Exhibition at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale and the Skyscraper Museum in New York City, analyze the implications of their projects in depth. PLANE–SITE is proud to broadcast their call for action and to support them in their cultural endeavors.
WOHA’s first exhibition in Latin America GARDEN CITY MEGA CITY: Ecosistemas Urbanos de WOHA opened as part of the Mextrópoli International Festival of Architecture and Urbanism (11 – 14 March 2017) on 12 March 2016. The exhibition is based on WOHA’s recent publication, GARDEN CITY MEGA CITY: Rethinking Cities for the Age of Global Warming, produced in collaboration with Patrick Bingham-Hall. Like the book, it showcases experimental prototypes for responding to climate change vulnerability and social challenges in the rapidly urbanizing tropics.
Curated and managed by PLANE—SITE, the multimedia exhibit presents over two decades of WOHA’s award-winning international design. WOHA have already shifted urban paradigms in Asia and see similarities in climate and the expanding megacities in Latin America. With this exhibition they begin a dialogue on the applicability of their architectural strategies to the region.
The architecture of WOHA introduces biodiversity and lively public spaces to overcrowded megacities with climate sensitive design and vertical urban strategies. PLANE—SITE released a set of building portraits in the form of videos that aim to grasp the complex three-dimensional matrixes and display the diversity of environments created through WOHA`s buildings.
Building Portrait: SkyVille @ Dawson
SkyVille @ Dawson represents a new chapter of innovative building in Singapore, as well as a new generation of public housing for the country. The building functions as a prototype of an achievable future—for Singapore and other tropical megacities alike—wherein the difficult balances between quality and affordability, public and private, and nature and architecture can be struck.
Building Portrait: Oasia Hotel Downtown
The Oasia Hotel Downtown presents a radically different face to the world than its glassy neighbors in the city’s central business district. While buildings often stand in opposition to nature, replacing green with grey, WOHA’s work proposes that even our highest density built works can amplify living greenery within urban space.
Building Portrait: Crowne Plaza Extension
Building 243 hotel units in 26 days, WOHA designed the Crowne Plaza Extension at Singapore Changi Airport as an innovative, resourceful solution to the challenges of the site. By relying on fully pre-fabricated units, they were able to minimize waste and never disrupt airport or hotel operations.
Inspired by the Garden City movement of the early 20th century, GARDEN CITY MEGA CITY responds to the alarming urban crisis that now threatens all large cities around the globe. Produced in collaboration with writer and photographer Patrick Bingham-Hall, it urges the universal reinstatement of a mutually beneficial coexistence between human beings and the natural environment. WOHA’s projects prioritize the re-creation of ecosystems, and have also reintegrated public space and civic culture into the increasingly unpleasant urban fabric of our overcrowded cities.
Committed to globalizing their urgent call to action, WOHA returned to Europe in November of 2016 for a GARDEN CITY MEGA CITY book launch tour organized by PLANE—SITE, presenting their response to the crisis of global warming and their vision for the vertical Garden City of tomorrow. At ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory in Berlin, WOHA discussed their practice in light of the current urban crisis with Matthias Sauerbruch of Sauerbruch Hutton. In London, they presented the book and its toolkit of alternative design strategies to the public and students during a launch event at the AA School of Architecture.
WOHA announced their contribution to the 15th International Architecture Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia (28 May – 27 November 2016), as part of the GAA Foundation’s collateral exhibition TIME SPACE EXISTENCE. Located in the Palazzo Bembo, Fragments of an Urban Future answers to the most pressing issues facing megacities today— unprecedented urbanization, accelerating climate change, and the need for preservation of tropical biodiversity. A selection of WOHA’s most recent work shows how the firm’s vertical ecosystems transform these challenges into inspiring models for sustainable building.
From commercial mixed-use to hospitality and social housing, Singapore-based WOHA reinterprets the skyscraper as a prototype for hyper-dense, green urban living. Their first exhibition in the United States, GARDEN CITY MEGA CITY, opened 22 March 2016 at the Skyscraper Museum, and displayed twelve of their most recent vertical ecosystems.
Featuring architectural models, videos and renderings, the show contextualized the firm’s towering endeavors as a stunning contribution to skyscraper design and a radical response to the Asian megacity. WOHA’s projects—in Jakarta, Bangkok, and Singapore, among others— address issues such as rampant population growth, preservation of tropical biodiversity, and the desire for lively community spaces.