Transforming army barracks into a five-star resort

The five-star resort, originally constructed in the 1880’s, was once a World War II army barracks. With extensive restoration designs by Foster+ Partners, the resort ranked Singapore’s top hotel in Travel + Leisure’s World Best Awards 2023.
Respect – from colonial building to luxury resort
The five-star Capella hotel and resort development in Sentosa is an adaptive reuse project that was originally constructed in the 1880’s and used as an army barracks during World War II. A new design by acclaimed firms Foster + Partners and DP Architects introduced a stunning curvilinear extension to the barracks, which serves as the hotel foyer.
To construct the extension, an open-sided excavation was made behind the legacy structure where Ramboll incorporates one of the first permanent passive soil nail retaining systems in Singapore. Key in the functional viability of the scheme was a seamless integration of the old and new; to achieve this, structures were set out in such a way that allowed hotel guests to effortlessly move from one building and back without traversing different spaces.
Review – A sensitive approach to restoration
Capella’s vision was to preserve the integrity of the original structure while integrating new elements. For this reason, prefabrication construction methods were used whereby most components were manufactured offsite and tailored to fit seamlessly with existing structures, meaning that damage or extensive modifications to the original structures were significantly reduced.
Prefabrication also allowed for better quality control on the project including improved precision in the production of components such as beams and columns. This approach also served to reduce material waste and enable more efficient use of resources. Prefabrication contributed to reduced carbon emissions by promoting energy efficiency in the manufacturing plants, increased transportation efficiency, expedited construction timelines, and the reuse of formwork.
Renew – An iconic fusion
The end result of a heritage colonial building and its curvilinear extension successfully built within native vegetation exemplifies Ramboll’s fusion engineering approach to rigorous and complex developments. For its considered design and successful implementation, the Capella Resort won a URA Architectural Heritage Award.
  • : No.1
    Ranked Best Hotel in Singapore in Travel + Leisure World Best Awards 2023
  • : 95,246m2
    Floor area of the resort
  • : 1880s
    Period that the building was originally constructed

Images

Before construction

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During Construction

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Aerial view after construction

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Pool view after construction

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