Novotel and Mercure Singapore on Stevens is a hospitality and development on the former site of Pines Country Club, located along an arterial road that leads to Orchard Road, Singapore’s iconic shopping precinct. It is a garden oasis crafted in response to the surrounding dense urban highrise developments. The design and planning create a green respite at the city fringe for not only hotel guests but the neighbourhood as well.
Connection between Human and Nature
The architecture takes its shape from the Chinese Character ‘人’ (ren). which means “mankind” or “human”, with spatial gestures to celebrate humans who work, dine and stay at the Hotel. It also divides the landscape into three public spaces: a grand drop-off space to the South that sets the hotel and allows for an inspirational arrival sequence; a more secluded hotel pool and courtyard space to the East; and a functional sports zone to the West.
Arriving at the grand drop-off, the water feature of 70 fountain jets is a welcoming feature with the glistening, mirror ceiling of the porte-cochere that reflects the guests themselves amidst the landscape setting. The walkway will lead guests through the garden setting to a myriad of restaurants of global cuisines that spill out from under the Hotel tower, and engage with the surrounding context, enticing the public and creating a new destination.
The existing site was surrounded by clusters of tropical Pine trees and the former site of private Pines Club. Hence, the planting design was conceived as an idyllic environment of pines and undulating tropical meadows as a picturesque setting for the building. 50 numbers of existing pine trees were carefully conserved and vernonia elliptica creepers form a green veil to the restaurant pods, complementing the tropical meadow groundscapes below and, creating a lush garden setting ideal for al-fresco events.
The ‘人’ Character is graphically integrated to overall design, from architectural planning to Interiors and landscape elements. The floor pattern is a simplified version of this Character, stitched together as a honeycomb pattern, being used throughout the entire development.
Project innovation/ Need
With explosive growth in the number of hotel rooms in Singapore, the supply of hotel rooms was rapidly exceeding in demand. A new approach towards designing hotels was needed, one in which we would eschew the cookie-cutter approach and instead focus on adding value to the guests’ stay.
Taking advantage of the sprawling location at the city fringe, free from the dense concrete jungle of the city, we are able to design and position the development as an oasis of calm. Green, organic “pods” housing a myriad of food and beverage options, from the groundscape beneath the Hotel tower with meandering pathways linking them together.
The 1.8 ha irregular wedge shaped site sits gently into the residential hillside, with the back-boundary edge 10m higher than the main street fronting edge. Despite the site constraints and regulatory requirements for fire engine access, the landscape seamlessly integrated design solutions as a response to authority requirements and user needs. The typically utilitarian fire access is designed into the events and wedding lawn area and plaza with an intricately woven hardscape and softscape, blurring the edges.
Flanking the hotels are posh, private residences. To construct a development of this magnitude required sensitivity towards the privacy of the residents and the expectations of the affluent neighbourhood. Liberal and extensive landscaping as well as the use of creepers and high-level planters on the façade were incorporated into the design to reduce the impact of the hotel tower.
The typically heavy water usage for irrigation to upkeep a lush landscaping is reduced with the use of recycled rain and condensate water, and the automated irrigation is carefully controlled with a water usage monitoring system. The extensive landscaping and hundreds of new shade trees planted on site to augment conserved existing ones, not only set the ambience of tranquil urban resort but also reduces the urban heat island effect and creates a cooler atmosphere with better air quality.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape:
Architect: DP Architects Pte Ltd
Lighting Consultant: WSP Ng Pte Ltd
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: DP Engineer Pte Ltd.
Civil & Structural Engineer: DP Engineer Pte Ltd.
Façade consultant: Building Façade Group
Project location: Orchard District, 28 Stevens Road, Singapore
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2017