VIBES: On the Scene

Get closer to nature with the new Mandai resort in 2023

May 23, 2019

Mandai Park Holdings

Get closer to nature with the new Mandai resort in 2023

23 May 2019

Singapore Zoo

Come 2023, a new resort experience will open to guests at Mandai, bringing them closer to nature through a biophilic design that integrates the buildings with their natural surroundings. The design of the new Mandai resort will be helmed by local architectural firm, WOW Architects. 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.”

Architectural illustration of an elevated walkway at the resort. Image courtesy of Mandai Park Holdings.
Architectural illustration of the treehouses at the resort. Image courtesy of Mandai Park Holdings
Interior illustration of a treehouse room. Image courtesy of Mandai Park Holdings

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.

Seed–pods Tree Houses

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.

Cross section illustration of the resort. Image courtesy of WOW Architects

Super Low Energy 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.

From left to right : Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, Mr Wong Chiu Man, Managing Director of WOW Architects and Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings

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.

Mike Barclay came across as sincere when he answered a journalist’s question on road kill and wildlife issues. He emphasized that preventive measures have been in place and even before they ”move” into an area, they surveyed and tried to re-locate precious wildlife as much as possible.
The Zoo do care about wildlife. This was a documented story of a baby pangolin found in Upper Thomson Road.
Accentuate Administrator

Author: Accentuate

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