Shangri-La Orchid Pavilion

1.0 Project Overview
A crowning jewel to commemorate its 45th anniversary, the Orchid Pavilion rethinks the traditional landscape pavilion typology through an innovative sculptural form and an integration of landscape with structure.

2.0 Project Narrative
Founded in 1971 as a resort hotel in the city, Shangri-La celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2016. The daughter of the hotel’s owner, a keen lover of orchids, commissioned a garden pavilion to celebrate the occasion and remember her father’s effort in establishing Shangri-La as the first urban resort hotel. Conceived as the centrepiece to the hotel’s immense garden grounds, suitable for events and formal occasions, the pavilion was to serve as a venue to feature a changing display of orchids in its interior. It was to showcase the hotel’s affinity with orchid species and to promote itself as Singapore’s ‘second Botanic Gardens’.

2.1 Site Context
A collection of hotel buildings sited on 15 acres of garden grounds, and stocked with an impressive array of exotic plant collection, Shangri-La has prided itself as a tropical urban oasis in the middle of the city. The first proposed site was not considered ideal as it was located in the deepest and lowest part of the hotel grounds, which would have made the pavilion inaccessible to everyone.

The second propose site, behind the hotel’s tennis courts compound, was a small and shaded site, lacking in both space and visibility in which hotel guests could easily access and admire the pavilion as a sculptural object. The third and final site was proposed to be situated in the middle of the hotel lawn to better position the pavilion as a sculptural element in the landscape, providing the best focal point from which the lounging decks, breakfast lounge and hotel guestrooms could view the pavilion. This position of the pavilion within a terrain devoid of tall shrubs and trees in its immediate surroundings also allowed the pavilion to stand out and deliver its visual impact.

2.2 Issues & Challenges
The chosen site sits on sloping ground, in which surface water runoff management and accessibility for everyone posed a challenge. The form of the pavilion also required an innovative re-interpretation of the design of the traditional landscape pavilion in order to deliver a dramatic visual impact to visitors.

2.3 Overall Concept
The design team looked to the orchid motif for inspiration, where its bulb could be re-interpreted as a powerful and elegant sculptural pavilion. Different iterations were then explored using parametric design software to refine and reach the final form. New constructional technologies were also thus employed. Engineered timber was chosen as the material to achieve the slender, curvaceous form that was proposed. The design team worked intensively with a timber specialist to make it buildable. In the interior of the pavilion, the hotel’s orchid specialist chose specific species, colours, displays, and plant-mounting details in order to deliver the best possible visual and physical impact.

2.4 Landscape Concept
The plan view of the pavilion was envisioned as five petals that reinforced its sculptural form. The planting plan also consisted of terrestrial orchids such as Arundina, Grammatophyllum and Spathoglottis species, supplemented by ferns and shrubs filled into the petal motif. The pavilion is also accessed by gentle ramps that winds down from the pool lounge deck, offering changing views of its sculptural form.

Entrant office name: Tierra Design [S]
Role of the entrant in the project: Architect / Landscape Architect
Project location: 22 Orange Grove Road, Shangri-La Hotel
Design year: 2014
Year Built: 2016


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