Built in the 1970s, the former Windsor Hotel underwent its fair share of changes and renovations that did little to engage its surroundings and the community. Located at the prominent intersection of MacPherson and Aljunied Roads, the hotel anchors the MacPherson Industrial Estate and landed residential estate. The existing 3-storey introverted and opaque shopping podium was unfriendly to its neighbours. Above this podium was a 6 storey 200-key hotel, with an inefficient H-shaped plan on a 7.2m grid with 2 room bays per grid. We were presented with the extremely challenging task of making this property relevant, with a fresh lease on life. For the project to be economically viable for international operators, the hotel had to be reconfigured to increase the room count to 300 keys.
Rebuilding was an obvious option, but an A&A to the existing building was an overall leaner solution with a shorter execution period. However, that meant that the increase in the hotel rooms had to be done within the same foot print with the constraints of the existing structure, since the 3-storey podium floor areas needed to be fully used for strata shops. This resulted in a very narrow room bay of 2.8m which was incompatible to the structural grid, creating many different small room layouts and situations where existing columns appear in the rooms. We overcame this challenge by making the hotel guest rooms open plan and with a system of multi-functional modular furniture adaptable to all 28 room configurations.
The new ground level frontage is more welcoming and accessible to the pubic with a large entrance, F&B spaces and more porous pedestrian connections to the external walkways. The façade was designed as a porous veil stretched over the existing building. Openings were cut out for views and entrances as well as a large opening on the 4th level to frame the lush pool garden terrace.
Photography by Masano Kawana