The award-winning PARKROYAL on Pickering is a hotel-as-garden structure that doubled the green-growing potential of its site and set a new standard for “breathing architecture” in Singapore.

With massive curvaceous sky-gardens resplendent with tropical plants and verdant swathes of tropical greenery cascading from multi-level balconies and a rooftop oasis, the PARKROYAL on Pickering hotel is a triumph of architecture for the ‘green-city’ of Singapore. Plants flourish throughout the entire complex, with trees and gardens in the hotel appearing to extend into the adjoining parkland.

Comprised of 15,000 square metres of sky gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls and planter terraces, the PARKROYAL on Pickering is a unique urban landmark and a beacon of sustainability in a city that is forging a reputation for creating a “city within a garden”. The large-scale mixed-use development was designed by Singapore-based architecture firm WOHA and occupies a long and narrow site on the western edge of the city’s central business district.

With an ethos geared to creating ‘public architecture’ that responds to the city as its civic duty, WOHA’s design for the Parkroyal serves not just as a hotel but as a connection to public zones, responding to the disparate environments of commercial space and parkland that surround it – a green gesture that bridges the divide.

According to the architects, the incorporation of greenery is more than just an aesthetic statement. An essential element to its functionality, the green-filled balcony gardens that extend from every fourth floor allows the building respond to its environment in a manner that offsets its challenging climatic conditions. Jutting from the side of the building with regularity, the sky gardens provide shade for the hotel, keeping rooms cool without the need for external screens and providing internal ventilation.

Stratified layers of pre-cast concrete wrap around the structure in an organic form that provides for the multi-layered landscaping that hovers above the public areas. Five storeys up, the swimming pool and garden terrace that sit on the roof of the central podium drops cascades of greenery over the undulating waves of the building’s profile, falling to meet the trees from the park below and forming a consolidated mass that blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior.

While fundamentally organic in nature, the architecture is cleverly planned and executed to create natural ventilation. Three linked towers form an E-shaped plan that sits on a central podium and offers views of greenery from every direction. The ground floor of the hotel is controlled right to the street edge with generous planting and covered walkways. The lobby and dining area are elevated slightly above passing pedestrians and traffic, the vertical transition handled by cascading water and plantings on both sides of a glass facade. The pool terrace on level 5 includes a 300-metre running track and suspended cabanas that resemble giant open lanterns. Vines drape vertically throughout the spaces to bridge the divide between the levels and scale the oversized dimensions of the public spaces. Lounge areas are open to the public and open onto a roof terrace suitable for private functions.

Two hundred percent of the land area of the PARKROYAL development site was replaced as garden and green wall, a significant achievement for the city. An elegant example of the “breathing architecture” for which WOHA is becoming known, the PARKROYAL on Pickering sustains its own ecosystem and offers the city an urban garden that balances the geological with the cultural in a harmoniously intertwined design.


Client | UOL Group Limited
Architects | WOHA
Landscape Consultants | Tierra Design
Contractor | Tiong Seng Contractors