We have selected a hotel for this space, not so much for its history, or its exquisite traditional design, or its expression of a particular culture and craftsmanship, but for its innovative architecture. Indeed, the Pan Pacific Orchard Hotel brings together the best of biophilic architecture, in what is an avant-garde building. But in this case, biophilic architecture is not an end in itself, but a means to offer guests the added value of a unique experience. It is the work of Singapore-based architecture firm WOHA, whose stated intention is to “devise holistic architectural and urban solutions to address 21st century challenges such as climate change, population growth and rapid urbanisation“. Let’s look at this project from different perspectives:
From the point of view of Pan Pacific Hotel Group (PPHG)
Pan Pacific Orchard is the latest flagship hotel of the UOL Group-owned chain, “a verdant sanctuary with exemplary architectural design that draws nature inwards“. The building arises “amidst the cityscape with dramatic terraced greenery occupying over 200% of the hotel’s land area“. It organises its 347 rooms and suites on 23 floors and four “pavilions” or overlapping terraces: the “Forest Terrace“, the “Beach Terrace“, the “Garden Terrace” and the “Cloud Terrace“, which correspond to “unique environments” offering differentiated experiences.
PPHG draws attention to the “dramatic columns“, covered with vertical gardens, that feature on each of the terraces. On the terraces, the “mirrored ceilings” reproduce the landscape, not only of each of the four pavilions, but also of the streets surrounding the hotel, as the perspective changes from outside to inside. In doing so, “open-air spaces welcome abundant fresh breezes and natural daylight for exquisite alfresco experiences“.
PPHG adds that Pan Pacific Orchard is one of the only luxury hotels in Singapore whose design revolves around the environment, “with 14,000sqm of foliage and water features, a high-ceiling open-air lobby and energy-saving features like rainwater collection, solar panel technology and a bio-digester system“.
From WOHA Architects’ point of view
The Pan Pacific Orchard design “envisions a new prototype for high-rise tropical hospitality (…), a distinctive garden hotel“. It “stacks 4 distinct strata“, each with its own terrace, as we said. In turn, “the guest rooms are split into 3 stacks configured in L-shaped stacks overlooking either the Sky Terraces or city“.
WOHA designed the first “stratum” as a “forest terrace“, with a water plaza and waterfalls surrounded by trees, with the idea of offering “a dramatic entrance and a memorable urban connection“. The second terrace offers guests a “a tropical oasis, with meandering sandy beachfront and palm groves around an emerald lagoon“. The third “layer” corresponds to a landscaped terrace, “flanked by the Bar and Lounge” and with “a manicured garden, complete with verandah, lawn, fountains“. Finally, the architects conceived the fourth stack as a large hall for 400 people, “surrounded by thin mirror pools and filigree planting, washed by natural light“.
In the words of Choe Peng Sum, CEO of PPHG
The Pan Pacific Orchard Singapore, whose construction was completed in June this year, 2023, is a revamp of the chain that aims to respond, according to Peng Sum, to “how the face of luxury was evolving, and how we would carve out our own relevant version of it“. To this end, PPHG coined the concept of “Graceful Luxury” to refer to a “thoughtful approach to luxury” that accommodates “the needs of the growing breed of enlightened travellers who value fulfilling experiences and unique designs over shiny opulence“.