The Crowne Plaza Hotel Extension at Changi Airport is a glimpse into the not-so-distant future of construction, in which working and safety conditions are greatly improved, waste is reduced, efficiency is increased significantly—and a ten-storey hotel structure can be built in 26 days. This project is a prototype of the prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC) method and proves that this method is the logical next step in the evolution of construction processes.
The client brief called for an extension building that consists solely of guestrooms and back of house necessities, with front of house and all public spaces are accommodated in the hotel’s existing structure of 320 rooms. This modular programme made the Crowne Plaza Extension an ideal project to adopt the PPVC method.
The construction adds 243 rooms to the hotel and complements the strong abstracted floral façade of the existing structure, while possessing its own distinctive identity through its multi-layered, translucent ‘skin’. As the building is prominently located in the airport, the building façade was carefully conceived not just in consideration of design aesthetics and performance, but also in response to the stringent operational requirements specific to the airport site e.g., deflecting radar waves.
The project was designed around tight site constraints and airport regulations, such as a maximum height of 10 storeys. With a relatively small triangular plot surrounded by roads, the actual building footprint exceeds that of the site—by cantilevering a corner of the hotel over the road. The limited construction area did not allow for space that is typically required for storage and equipment in conventional construction methods.
The interiors have been designed to be multi-functional with thoughtful touches incorporated especially for business guests. With the use of colours and mirrors, the rooms are cosy, well-lit and with a sense of serenity promoting a restful stay. The material palette ties in with the hotel’s urban resort theme, encapsulating the Singaporean identity—tropical, Asian, multi-cultural and welcoming yet cosmopolitan, efficient, and stylish.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel Extension at Changi Airport was the first private sector commercial building in Singapore to be completed using the PPVC method. With this, the manpower required to construct the new extension was nearly cut in half from 75 workers per day, when using conventional construction techniques, to only 45 workers. It also significantly reduced the construction time—down to a third of the time needed when using conventional methods—needing an average time of only three to four days for one floor, compared to 14-21 days when using conventional construction techniques.
The units were pre-fabricated in Shanghai, China—in an enclosed factory setting, which greatly improved the working and safety conditions of the employees—and all rooms were already fitted with carpeting, tiles and all other fixtures found in a hotel room, including a bathtub, before being shipped to Singapore. They went on a journey from the factory via truck to the port, then via boat to Singapore and finally again via truck to the site. They were lifted and moved many times but during the entire process only one unit was damaged. The units were then stacked like Lego blocks on top of the building base with an average of 10 PPVC modules per day.
Crowne Plaza Extension, Changi Airport, Singapore
75 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819664
Gross Floor Area
9,615 square metres
WOHA; Richard Hassell; Wong Mun Summ; Phua Hong Wei; Schirin Taraz-Breinholt; Tan Yi Qing; Tay I-Lin; Evelyn Ng; Anthony Wang
OUE Airport Hotel Pte Ltd
Intercontinental Hotels Group
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Surbana International Pte Ltd
Civil & Structural Engineer
RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd
Passage Projects Pte Ltd
Davis Langdon KPK (Singapore) Pte Ltd
BFG HCCH Consulting Pte Ltd
Lighting Planners Associates Inc
Dragages Singapore Pte Ltd