If it can be done at an airport in the tropics, it can be done anywhere!

singapore-airport-crowne-plazaI stayed here last night and so have first hand experience of the amazing sustainability credentials of the hotel. Designed by WOHA in Singapore, the Crowne Plaza Hotel at SIngapore Airport blows away the idea that hotels have to be dark, stuffy, internalised buildings.

I believe it’s a great model for what we should be doing at every hotel. Innovation is rife in it’s truest sense – removal of the unnecessary. It’s unnecessary to air condition corridors and lobbies if they are designed well, its unnecessary to travel by lift if you provide visible interconnecting stairs and it’s unnecessary to turn the lights on if the room is sufficiently well daylight.

Lets start with the corridors.

You enter the air conditioning lobby check in and take the lift to you floor. You exit the lift and it looks like any normal life lobby, but hang on.


Is that gaps I can see at the bottom of the glass? Yes it is, that must mean the lobby is permanently in natural ventilation mode. In the tropics?!? But hey wait, I’m comfortable.

Then you turn to walk towards your room and you see this.

IMG_1156Completely open corridors, and yep that’s a swimming down amongst the trees. Wow this place is cool.

Carry further on round and you realise that there is another open air courtyard adjacent to it.


And if you look closely on the left you through the perforated metal you can see a lightwell running down through the building adjacent to the bridge (corridor) to each room. You can see one window facing the lightwell and one facing the bridge – the one facing the lightwell is to the corridor within the hotel room and the other is to the bathroom.

Then when you get inside.


The bedroom area gets good daylight, the bathroom is seperated by glass to the bedroom area which lets light through, the bathroom has additional windows to the lightwell and the corridor where the wardrobe and mini-bar are located has a window as well.

I was here on an autumn overcast Singapore day – 32 degC, 85% RH and cloudy.

The external corridors were comfortable and I could turn off all the lights in the room without needing night vision goggles. Man this hotel is awesome.

One slight niggle – they did the usual thing of when you first enter the room all the lights and TV are turned on. But that’s easy to solve.

So the question remains if this can be done with a 10 storey hotel at an airport in a very tropical climate why isnt it done everywhere else in the world where it’s a lot more comfortable than Singapore?

1 Comments on “If it can be done at an airport in the tropics, it can be done anywhere!”

  1. Just a comment further to the wonderful insights above on crowne hotel.

    As the climate all over the Singapore Island is same, the local research institutions have derived a single parameter for indoor shaded spaces that determine thermal comfort with natural ventilation. It is 0.6 m/s of average indoor air speed. This benchmark drives the incoporation of slits/openings at the right places. With low outdoor average wind speeds in singapore of 2-3m/s this is a challenge, but has been achieved successfully in certain locales with the right orientation (which is usually north-south for effective cross ventilation).

    So essentially, on this island, for indoors if you have sufficient shading i.e. not so high mean radiant temperature, just get the air moving and its happy days 🙂

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