My thesis investigates the relationship between Singapore and air-conditioning. In the context of high carbon emissions, over reliance on air-conditioning is unsustainable. In the 1980s, John Portman designed 4 hotels in Singapore with extravagant atrium filled with cooled air, with keys surrounding this atrium. This is also the case in Regent Hotel, which I have chosen to interrogate and alter in consideration of several new contexts.
1. The requirement of low-carbon buildings
2. Dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic
3. Integration with tropical climate and its nature.
In conclusion, rethinking the atrium becomes a new possibility for architecture in Singapore.
John C. Portman Jr. was an American architect and real estate developer who had impacted the hotel culture in Singapore. His four urban hotels within the city-state, import a globalized hospitality aesthetic, leveraging a luxurious appointed modernism with the large scaled air-conditioned atria, inverting the hotels; focus towards the city to a sealed comfort producing interior. This constructed interior world aligns with Singapore’s pivot to American financial influence in the 1980’s and 1990’s and serves as the techno-cultural-typological starting point of the thesis. The thesis proposes a reconfigured hotel, embedding 21st century climate concerns on air quality, energy use, and density to perforate metaphorically and symbolically the sealed interior. A multitude of atria, both interior and exterior, sealed and leaky, incorporate air conditioning and natural ventilation as a symbolic and spatial transformation of the type. Thermal spatial gradients are produced across the section reconfiguring the design of hotel, the atrium, and the air within.- Assoc. Prof. Erik G. L'Heureux