• Singapore's Oasia Hotel Downtown is famous for its "living facade" of greenery.
  • The hotel, located in the central business district (CBD), was completed in 2016.
  • Photos show how plants have taken over the building's facade through the years.

Thanks to its red mesh coating and green "living facade," Oasia Hotel Downtown stands out from its dull-colored neighbors in Singapore's central business district.

Construction of the 624-foot hotel started in 2012 and was completed in 2016, per a WOHA Architects factsheet sent to Insider. WOHA Architects is a Singapore-based architecture firm that's behind the building's design. It cost an estimated 138 million Singapore dollars ($100 million) to build the hotel.

The architects selected the red aluminum mesh base because they wanted to create a strong contrast against the greenery and the blue sky, per the factsheet. The mesh extends above the top of building, creating a crown roof that gives the plants an extra 140 feet to grow. Today, the exterior is covered in 21 species of creeper plants arranged at different heights based on how much sunlight they need, their resilience to the wind, and how fast they grow. 

Photos from Google Maps Street View show how the plants have slowly taken over the building. Here's what the hotel looked like in July 2016, when construction was newly completed:

July 2016, as viewed from Choon Guan Street. The building was still new and its facade was relatively sparse. Foto: Google Maps

Some of the plants follow different blooming cycles, creating a facade that changes its appearance at various times throughout the year, per the factsheet.

By February 2018, greenery was starting to overtake the lower parts of the hotel:

Feb 2018, as viewed from Choon Guan Street. Plants are slowly growing over parts of the building. Foto: Google Maps

A photo from July 2019 shows the greenery creeping every higher:

As of March 2022, one of the hotel's sides is nearly completely covered in plants:

March 2022, as viewed from Tras Link. Foto: Google Maps

The green facade also plays a functional purpose by keeping the surface temperature of the hotel cooler than the ambient temperature, per the factsheet. As the plants provide shade and absorb heat, they are able to combat the urban island heat effect, where temperatures in built environments are warmer than in nearby rural areas. 

The green plot ratio measures the density of greenery within a development, per the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Oasia Hotel Downtown has a green plot ratio of 1,100%, meaning the plants on the building can cover more than 10 times the amount greenery lost as a result of the hotel's construction, per the factsheet. Rather than reducing the amount of greenery in the city, the construction of the building ends up adding to it instead.

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