Designed as an international four-star business hotel, Carlton City Hotel is programmed for 386 rooms, conference spaces, outdoor activity spaces, business lounges, all-day dining and rooftop bar. Situated on a tight urban site, with high-rise structures in close proximity, the hotel tower, oriented north-south, is placed in a way to distance it from the neighbouring towers.
The design maximises the use of the site and yet maintains a strong distinction between the tower and its podium. While the tower rises up to 29 storeys, resonating with the context of the business district, the podium is programmed and articulated to respond to the street level flows.
A high degree of porosity, created visually through high volumes and use of glass, characterises the entrance floor which faces Tanjong Pagar Road. Functionally, a large column-free drop-off zone is diagonally connected to the reception lobby. The diagonal connection not only defines the main circulation flow but also strings together the key activities on the ground floor—the business lounge, reception area and cafe lounge. The diagonal opens up surprising sightlines from inside-out, adding to the openness of the entrance floor. Setting up this diagonal arrangement is the clever corner configuration of the drop-off, with ingress from Gopeng Street and a separate egress to Tras Street. It ensures smooth vehicular flow and optimises the use of the tight urban site. The street corner along Tanjong Pagar Road is made distinctly visible with a rotunda. Not only an urban landmark that anchors the corner and adds to street level legibility, but the rotunda is also programmed distinctly as a business lounge at the ground level and terminates as a pavilion at the terrace level.
The form expresses the interlocking between two elements—the tower and the podium. The contrast between the two elements is expressed through their volume and articulation. The tower is made distinctly vertical and ‘light’ through the use of fins and dark glass. The vertical planes of the tower extend high to form the crown and accentuate the vertical expression. A subtle rupture in the plane is created to bring out the lounge and dining space at the rooftop level. The granite-clad podium is expressed as horizontal and ‘solid’, forming the base onto which the tower is interlocked. The podium’s vibrant material expression and detailing respond to the human scale and resonate well with the context while expressing a harmonious contrast to the tower above. Volumetrically, the tower does not touch the ground but hovers above the podium which accentuates its lightness.
The architecture of Carlton City Hotel successfully responds to the client brief, the complexity of the site and the urban context to craft a place of lasting elegance.