Speaking on the appointment of WOW Architects, Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) said, “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.
Design features for a ‘Conscious Stay’
The 4.6-hectare site for the 338-room resort currently houses the Singapore Zoo’s back-of-house facilities. The resort will be carefully integrated into the site, which will be enriched through the planting of native tree species. Visitors will feel immersed in the surrounding nature, which they will be encouraged to enjoy in a non-intrusive manner.
“We are excited to be part of a project that aims to be an exemplary showcase of sustainable development practices”, said Mr Wong Chiu Man, Managing Director, WOW Architects. “Our building and its systems adopt a biophilic attitude, by blending into nature and becoming part of it, while creating an engaging and comfortable environment for the guests. The resort was designed with the native flora and fauna as inspiration, and the architecture and interior design will showcase the biodiversity of Mandai for guests to appreciate and learn from. When completed, the building and the landscape will become a holistic, immersive experience.
”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.
In line with this theme of celebrating nature, the resort’s standard and family rooms will offer views into the rainforest. 24 elevated treehouses are being designed in the shape of seed-pods and will be set amongst the trees surrounding the resort.
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.
Guest education and programming for a ‘Conscious Stay’
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.
Resort Operations for a ‘Conscious Stay’
Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings said, “The future Mandai Wildlife District is designed to provide unprecedented yet sensitive access to nature for people from all walks of life. As like-minded partners, Banyan Tree is aligned with MPH’s mission and focus in wildlife conservation and education. Celebrating and championing 25 years of sustainable development, Banyan Tree has pioneered the journey of stewardship in its commitment towards the environment and communities through our philosophy of ‘Embracing the Environment, Empowering People’. Steeped in our signature Asian hospitality, we look forward to creating authentic accommodation experiences, and operating in this unique eco-sensitive setting to highlight and inspire active guest participations into resort sustainability efforts at Mandai.”
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.
About Mandai Park Holdings
Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) is driving the rejuvenation of Mandai Precinct into an integrated nature and wildlife destination, through its development arm, Mandai Park Development (MPD). MPH also oversees the business and strategic development of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the operator of Singapore’s award-winning Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo. For more details about the proposed concept for the rejuvenation of Mandai, please visit www.mandai.com.
About WOW Architects and Warner Wong Design
WOW Architects and Warner Wong Design is an international consultancy offering professional design services in architecture, interior and landscape design, and master planning.
An award-winning firm recognized for extensive experience in cross-border services, their projects span the Asian region and extend as far as the Middle East and North Africa. Their core competency lies in the areas of hospitality, residential and commercial design with strong lifestyle-driven concepts.
Established as Warner Wong Design in the year 2000 by Wong Chiu Man and Maria Warner Wong, WOW has since evolved into a dynamic design group.
Their process driven design leads to in-depth exploration and thought, resulting in a unique approach to each project rather than a particular formula or style. The firm’s creations are stylistically inclusive and diverse; they harbour a strong sense of place and timelessness that engage the senses whilst delivering a spatial product in response to a client’s vision and business objectives.
About Banyan Tree Holdings Limited
Banyan Tree Holdings Limited (“Banyan Tree” or the “Group”) is a leading international operator and developer of premium resorts, hotels, residences and spas, with 47 hotels and resorts, 64 spas, 76 retail galleries, and three golf courses in 23 countries. Each resort typically has between 75 to 300 rooms and commands room rates at the higher end of each property’s particular market.
The Group’s primary business is centered on four brands: the award-winning Banyan Tree and Angsana, as well as newly established Cassia and Dhawa. Banyan Tree also operates the leading integrated resort in Thailand – Laguna Phuket -- through the Group’s subsidiary, Laguna Resorts & Hotels Public Company Limited. Two other integrated resorts – Laguna Bintan in Indonesia and Laguna Lăng Cô in Central Vietnam – complete the status of the Group as the leading operator of integrated resorts in Asia.
As a leading operator of spas in Asia, Banyan Tree’s spas are one of the key features in their resorts and hotels. Its retail arm Banyan Tree Gallery complements and reinforces the branding of the resort, hotel and spa operations.
Since the launch of the first Banyan Tree resort, Banyan Tree Phuket, in 1994, Banyan Tree has received over 2,400 awards and accolades for the resorts, hotels and spas that the Group manages. The Group has also received recognition for its commitment to sustainability for environmental protection and emphasis on corporate social responsibility.
In addition to its currently operating hotels, resorts, spas and golf courses, the Group currently has 23 hotels and resorts under construction, and another 37 under development.
www.banyantree.com www.angsana.com www.cassia.com www.dhawa.com