The tower-and-podium typology could probably be described as the quintessential model for urban architecture of the 20th century. By now, it's grown quite derivative, bland, and even unsustainable. WOHA architects have reimagined the tried-and-true formula for a new "green" century with a visionary urban complex that fuses the city with the tropics. For their sprawling hotel row, the PARKROYAL on Pickering, the architects raised a series of 12-story towers over a block-long podium that's threaded with sky gardens with frangipani, palm trees, and tropical plants.
The podium is sculpted to look like large eroded boulders, what the architects call a "topographical architecture." This consists of stratified layers of precast concrete that move in and out of the forest of columns supporting the towers suspended above. The gardens are cantilevered off the face of the blocks at every fourth floor, helping to shade the rooms within. See more of the project here.
Photos: Patrick Bingham-Hall