The South Beach

Walking  along Beach Road, between the Marina and Civic District in the heart of downtown Singapore, you can discover the new 150,000m2 eco-quarter designed by Foster + Partners and global design firm Aedas, as an exemplary showcase of green architecture: The South Beach, the most anticipated project and the new Singapore’s iconic landmark that has redefined the city Skyline.


A joint venture between City Developments Limited and IOI Properties Group Berhad, it seamlessly blends new construction with the restoration of existing buildings, energy efficient new urban quarter brings together places to live and work with shops, cafes, restaurants, a 5 star Design Hotel and public spaces.

The site also houses a row of four buildings to be conserved and regenerated. A wide landscaped pedestrian avenue – a green spine – weaves through the site and is protected by a large canopy, which shelters the light-filled public spaces beneath from the extremes of the tropical climate.


Two interconnected pairs of 45 storey towers stand towards the north and south of the site, connected by the green spine – the south towers are divided between a hotel and apartments, while the north towers contain offices. Their facades extend into a gentle arc, which continues the language of the undulating canopy below – they are angled to capture prevailing winds and direct air flow to cool the ground level spaces. Reinterpreting the Singaporean ideal of the ‘city in a garden’ in a high-rise form, the towers are intersected by densely planted sky gardens serving as Club facilities for the Residences and Hotel, and as break out spaces for the Offices, which hosts tenants like Expedia, the aerospace company Boeing and the social- media giant Facebook.


An extended vertical and horizontal louvers are prevalent on the North and South Facades to cut out the harsh tropical sun. A continuous louvered screen covers the East and West Facades. The louvers act both as sun shade as well as planters, allowing green to ascend the tower. The spaces behind the screens become system of planters, balconies and terraces that respond to the internal functions.  At a lower level, the treatment of the perimeter buildings is sensitive to the scale of the nineteenth century Raffles Hotel on the opposite side of the street – the four adjacent former military buildings along Beach Road have been carefully restored and are interspersed with mature trees, which have been conserved on the site.

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A large environmental canopy enveloping much of the 34,950sm site hovers over these different elements, stitching them together. This canopy mediates the harsh tropical climate, keeping out rain and direct sunlight while allowing wind to flow through the site.


The canopy’s ribbons of steel and aluminium louvres flex above the primary circulation routes and public spaces, and dip near the edges to meet the Beach Road buildings. The ribbons are supported by slender pillars and rise up the exposed east and west elevations of the towers to form a series of vertical louvres, which are carefully angled to encourage natural ventilation.


The entrance to the canopy rises up to form an arc, which acts as a wind scoop, drawing the prevailing breezes through the space and promoting natural ventilation. Beneath the canopy are a series of smaller buildings and flexible spaces for functions and events. Combining rainwater harvesting with a range of environmental strategies, the development has already won two Green Mark Platinum Awards.


In fact, it is estimated  that South Beach will save close to 2,000 MWh of electricity and 174,000m3 of water annually. The Concept hotel, located in the South Tower, is designed to create a H.I.P. environment – Highly Individualised People and Places – and features 654 Philippe Starck-designed Showcase Guest Rooms and Suites, an ADHD (All Day Hotel Dining) restaurant, three vibrant bars, two sky gardens, two infinity swimming pools and a gym.


There are 43 Imaginative Social Spaces, which  together offers a unique destination within the thriving Civic District.

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In the South Beach Hotel, Philippe Stark has  created infinite experiences places by integrating lifestyle, design and technology. The Lobby, called The Global Village, features seven different individualised check-in counters and welcomes with a Vintage Miami Beach flavour, through an explosions of vibrant coloured mix and match furniture, texture and fabrics and a magnificent 7m by 6.5m digital art wall by South Korean artist Lee Lee Nam.


The elegant guestrooms and suites, called ‘Showcase Rooms and Suites’ ,features 400 thread count linens,  designer amenities, luxurious bath furnishings and the advanced in-Room Control technology by VDA. The South Beach Residences, located in the upper half of the South Tower, comprises 190 elegantly designed residential units and penthouses from levels 23 to 45. The luxurious residences command 360 panoramic and unsurpassed views sweeping across Marina Bay all the way through to the Central Business District skyline, and the Orchard shopping district.


Residents are provided with an alternative venue for entertaining guests at either of the two luscious sky gardens, to infuse contemporary style with ecological design.

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” The design seeks to create a hospitality experience second to none and we hope that each guest who stays with us can leave with unique stories to tell. “


New trends in Mixed-Use Projects by Jonathan Douglas

The Hospitality industry faces new challenges with a rapidly growing market. The new demands and expectations from consumers are forcing  the Hospitality operators to differentiate themselves from their varied competitors.

To better understand how Architectural Design can help address these business challenges, we have asked Jonathan F. Douglas, AIA, Managing Principal at VOA International Architectural Design firm, for his perspective.

Mr. Douglas has more than 30 years of experience with the Hospitality, Resorts and Casinos sectors. Widely regarded as an industry expert he has also written a variety of articles for business and trade publications including Urban Land Magazine, Hospitality Design, and Casino Design.





Q: Mr. Douglas, in your opinion, what phase is the Hospitality Industry going through?


A: We see continued growth in the development of new brand hospitality at every level of the market. What this means is continued segmentation into more targeted and focused demographics as well as more and more companies deciding that hospitality is an important way to engage their customer. Let’s say you operate a museum, own a line of boutique retail store, or a string of car dealerships.

Today you will now consider a hotel, restaurant or entertainment venue as an important step in building more brand awareness and loyalty with your customers.

From a designers perspective, having the opportunity to work with what may be non-traditional hospitality owners is exciting and fun since there are many more ideas being put forward about what this experience could be. We are able to focus on our client’s business objectives and create unique solutions to engage their customers in unexpected ways. We are finding interesting combinations of mixed use destinations that increasingly are about telling stories that inform and engage the guest.






Q: What is the impact of the new Building technologies in the development of a new project?


A: Beyond the obvious benefits of better visualization, modelling, coordination, and implementation I think what is also happening is the ability to continue to exceed our client’s expectations and our team by collaborating deeply, interacting openly and honestly, and intelligently using Lean principles. We are starting to be able to collect enough data that we can know create realistic measurable goals for each project and then know whether or not we are meeting them through the use of real-time dashboard that give a snapshot of all aspects of the project.  This can be typical metrics such as quality, on-schedule, or under-target cost delivery of the project but more importantly can start to look at things like guest experience- For example:  Are we meeting our design goals by programming enough opportunity for the guests to interact with the brand? Are we supporting or exceeding the guest expectations. Can we create something even better from an experience perspective? These are the new areas where we are starting to use Building Information Technology in a much more meaningful way to our clients.


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Q: Sustainability is part of your design philosophy. How does VOA contribute to minimize the environmental impact?


A: In everything that we do, we are conscious of the contribution a high- performance building will have on reducing overall energy usage. It starts with very simple broad scale approach such as attention to overall building orientation to more complex systems such as building envelope and systems. We are able to model energy usage quite effectively at an early stage of the design process and use that as one of many tools to help guide the design process.  Internally we use a dashboard to not only monitor how well our projects perform but how well are we doing ourselves in terms of simple things like recycling.  It helps us stay more connected to our sustainability goals by checking our progress each step along the way.




Casa de La Flora Khao lak

Long stretches of unspoiled beach, crystal clear blue sea and tropical rain forest allow Khao Lak to be the heaven for relaxation, particularly attractive to discerning tourists looking for a peaceful vacation in the Land of Smiles.

Located closely to Similan Islands, one of the most beautiful, top ten diving spots in the world, Khao Lak is the nearest land point to the small archipelago, well known for the world class reefs and crystal clear waters.




Nestled within the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park, this striking contemporary resort takes the guests on a special voyage of discovery, where modern architecture and luxury blend with the simple pleasures and beauty of nature, such as feeling the sultry sand beneath your toes.

The organic, timeless quality of the monolithic villas of Casa de La Flora, blend naturally with the surrounding rocks and landscape, which appear to stand as sentinels over the secluded beachfront.

Looming above the billowing white roofs of the beachfront decking, the cubist, glass-fronted facades of Casa de la Flora, stare impassively over the crystal blue waters of the Andaman Sea. The fierce lines and raw colors of the resort highlight the dazzling blue of the sky, the lush green of the trees and the golden sands of the beach.

To help achieve and blend with the surrounding aesthetic, the rooms use smart room systems by VDA (with the luxury Italian design of Vitrum Smart Switches), superior Thai amenities and private pools.

Outside the room, the resort offers an exclusive spa, open-air sea view restaurant, chic lounge bar and private mangrove vegetation areas to explore. This fusion of high aesthetic, cutting-edge facilities and beauty of the surrounding landscape, combine to make Casa de La Flora the ideal getaway for the highly discerning.

“I really didn’t want to follow the same philosophy of other resorts,” explains Khun Sompong Dowpiset, owner and mastermind behind the Casa de La Flora project. “I am really focused on offering the customer what they want on holiday. That they are welcome to our exclusive resort to relax, release their emotions and arouse romance.”




In-room check-in


IPod docking station

Wi-Fi Internet access

Espresso machine



Armed with these concepts, and a great deal of faith, Khun Sompong identified leading Thai Architecture firm VasLAB Studio, to help turn his vision into reality. They were charged with creating a bold looking resort that still managed to express the natural warmth implied by the name ‘flora’ or flower, while considering that guests would require the very highest level of amenities, personalized services and privacy.




“Many people kept asking me why are you doing this, why are you being so daring? It’s very expensive, very costly, the architecture and the amenities. But I believed, that you have to make the investment and to take the risk. To achieve the desired results required Khun Sompong and the architecture team, to carefully ensure the entire interior, conceptual, structural and lighting elements blended together into a beautiful ensemble.

The patience and perseverance of Khun Sompong and his team, are their real own special love song to the region of Khao Lak, and allows them to be bold and committed to Thai hospitality, design and architecture.




“I don’t care about getting a high occupancy, I care that everyone who comes here, have their own unique passionate experience and then after they leave, start dreaming and wanting to come back.” Sompong Dowpiset, Casa de la Flora.




Across the Thailand’s Capital City “Bangkok”, where a British Economist and Building Construction expert have moved since 1990 from Africa – the continent he stayed for over 20 years.




A Modern Japanese cubic design glass villa is his destination home, which allows all the natural lights come through inside and it colors the white finishing material including the furniture charmingly through day out. The sun shines through palm leaves in the lovely lush green garden keeps the optimum light and temperature in the house calm. A North-facing building and crystal clear windows placed in the proper of windward, gives him the gently breeze. The boutique ceiling fan and windows along the stairs balances the perfect ventilation all day long. Thanks to the Cavity Wall, which show the high performance saving the villa cool and prevent the heat stream from outsides.




He selects the eco-friendly technology – the solar energy warms the water, UV filter leaches out the filth from portable water and the LED lights to save energy.




The owners adores traveling around the world and loves collecting ancient furniture from the local antiquarian, filling the house of memories of their journeys along Asia.




The wooden smart switches Vitrum by VDA blends the feel of outdoor nature and the high-end technology divisibly. The dark brown color of natural wood of the switches gives his home feel more warm and modern.




On the coffee table in the large living room, guests can find the traveling books with the collection of the pictures and the stories of the many voyages the owner did around the world.




An original way to drink a cup of coffee, between a chat and the other, dream and discover the five continents through the eyes of a curious and a knowledgeable traveler with a bohemian and adventurous spirit. The fragrant smell of the coffee from guest’s cups and the sound of the people talking, laughing in the cozy main living hall, made this house filled with happiness.