29 July 2016

Cool by nature

You would notice it at first glance: this building is different. Of course there is vegetation everywhere, but there is more! It seems like the building is on stilts! Why this unusual look? For environmentally friendly reasons!
© ParkRoyal

One Climate One Challenge Meza Gheung ParkRoyal
Rebecca and Carolina

The ParkRoyal Pickering hotel is located in the heart of Singapore. “The 367-room hotel was opened in January 2013,” Rebecca explains. Rebecca Ting is a member of the Marketing and Social Media team. We had the chance to visit the hotel together with her and we could soon understand what makes the building unique.

Structural architectural choices were made in order to reduce energy consumption. And you can see these major choices: the car park and the corridors are not inside the building but outdoors!

“You can feel the air in the corridors!” says Rebecca. “It was decided to have outdoor corridors to access the rooms. Two thirds of the corridors are outdoors. This is very uncommon in Singapore hotels. That way, there is no need for artificial lighting during the day and no need for air conditioning.” This means lots of energy saving. In Singapore, where the weather is tropical, air conditioning is a big source of energy consumption.

“Same for the car park!” Rebecca adds. “The car park isn’t underground but it is located on level 3 and 4 of the building, between the lobby floor and the rest of the hotel. The lighting is natural and there is no ventilation.” Similarly to the corridors, this major architectural choice saves lots of energy. However there was another key reason behind this design choice: “The second reason was the intention to reduce the environmental impact of the construction: by avoiding an underground car park we avoided excavation work.” Excavation work means lots of carbon emissions since, for instance, the transportation job is performed by fossil-fueled trucks, sometimes for weeks.

© ParkRoyal
Both these choices – outdoor corridors and car park – are valid for other kinds of buildings: residential buildings or office towers for instance. 


“We like to call it a hotel-in-a-garden,” says Rebecca. Vegetation is everywhere. “The hotel features over 15 000m2 of lush skygardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces, and cascading vertical greenery. With all the greenery you will find here, we could fill 2 parks like the one in front of the hotel! The vertical greenery makes beautiful walls but it also contributes to cooling down the rooms! The gain can be up to 3°C, less air conditioning is required.”

Rebecca adds: “Greenery is maintained without using extra water or energy. The rainwater is collected for this purpose, recycled water can also be used, and there are solar cells which make it a ‘zero-energy’ garden!
One Climate One Challenge Meza Gheung ParkRoyal 
Carolina in the lobby. Large windows for natural lighting.
In regards to energy consumption, the hotel also features special windows. They are made of a specific blue glass which blocks a great quantity of heat out. But this glass is not tinted; it lets the full daylight enter in. Again, less artificial light is utilized.”

In the rooms, the air conditioning is set at 21°C and if the guests want to lower the temperature they will have to make a phone call.


Rebecca explains about the undulating structures of the bottom parts of the building: “They are inspired by rice-paddy terraces!” The design is elegant but what is really exciting is what is hidden inside: recycled plastic elements can be found in the concrete slabs! These elements have the shape of big plastic balls. They have allowed the reduction of both the amount of concrete used and the building weight.

The “big balls” are made of 100 percent recycled plastics (©Cobiax). 

This technology from the German company Cobiax can cut down the emission of eco-toxic pollutants up to 20% and primary energy demands up to 22%. It also reduces 210kg of carbon emissions per cubic meter of concrete displaced (Cobiax). Another innovative and eco-friendly choice!


One Climate One Challenge Meza Gheung ParkRoyalWe liked one last thing Rebecca explained to us regarding the hotel architecture. The building looks like it is on stilts; level 5 is actually a very high open air level. Rebecca says: “This architectural choice was done taking into account the impacts of the building on the surroundings. There were existing residential buildings before the construction of the hotel and we did not want this new hotel to ruin their view for instance. With this open air level, and the vegetation all around, the view is not that bad. And an air flow could remain. This is appreciated in a tropical city like Singapore!”

Rebecca concludes: “Many visitors come to see the special architecture of the hotel and think of it as a luxury hotel, but what we want is to provide our visitors an experience in a sustainable hotel. We try to smoothly show our guests that everyone’s lifestyle can be more eco-friendly.”

The buildings of the future will be different from today. They may be shaped differently. Sometimes they will be elegant sometimes not. But anyway they will be beautiful in the sense they will be sustainable!

 You will find a community garden at level 5.
The ingredients are used by the hotel restaurant chef!