WOHA’s design explores strategies of high-density living in a high-rise tropical environment. The concept for The Met is to develop an advanced form of high-rise living for the tropics, developed less from western temperate models than from research on possibilities of low-wind, tropical climate in dense urban conditions. This project implemented several ideas developed originally for a competition in Singapore for public housing.
Skyscrapers in Chicago and New York
High-rise designs have traditionally followed temperate models, which were developed in New York or Chicago with cold weather and strong winds. This resulted in apartments that are compact, insulated from the exterior and without sun shading or overhangs. Buildings are protective shells designed to shield the inhabitants from the harsh weather.
In the tropics
By contrast, design for the tropics should take advantage of year-round warm weather, capture breezes, and be laid out for cross-ventilation, incorporating outdoor spaces, verandas and gardens. Buildings are framing devices of minimal environmental devices for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
This scheme is designed from first principles to create a better lifestyle for central city living in the tropics. Going high in the tropics means cooler breezes, less dust, more privacy, more security, less noise, better views. To take advantage of these conditions, the design incorporates a staggered arrangement of blocks that allow cross ventilation, views to both the city and the river, and enhance the gentle breezes by funneling them between towers. The gaps between the towers are bridged with sky gardens that provide exterior entertaining areas directly off living areas – pools and gardens.
The orientation of the staggered blocks allows the sun to daily penetrate between the blocks on its regular tropical sun-path.
The apartments’ interiors interact strongly with the exterior, with full height glazing, balconies, sky gardens and sky terraces. Sun shading and overhangs provide weather protection and screen and filter the strong tropical light. Walls of greenery provide sun-shading that convert heat into oxygen, improving local air quality.
Common areas are spread throughout the towers, offering inhabitants a variety of experiences, from the intricately designed carpet of water, stone and vegetation at ground level, to the extensive indoor-outdoor facilities at the pool level, to libraries, barbecues, and function areas at sky terraces.
The hotel block explores related ideas, providing guests with huge outdoor balconies incorporating water features and trees, staggering up the façade to provide a layer of interlocking external spaces.