Barely six months after its soft launch, the River Safari has won a new award at the Singapore Institute of Architects' 13th Architectural Design Awards - for best toilet design. Visitors to the wildlife park get to wash their hands next to a pond teeming with aquatic plants and guppies, with an overhanging wooden trellis skylight.
Designed by home-grown firm DP Architects, the toilet's blend of nature and an airy interior helped to win over the judges.
The award was created this year to encourage new ideas and innovation in intelligent bathroom design. It was one of 26 prizes given out at last night's awards ceremony at Raffles City Convention Centre.
Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee was guest of honour. The Singapore Institute of Architects awards are the profession's highest nod to works that show excellent architectural design.
This year, there were eight categories. Winners were picked based on criteria such as originality and innovation, sensitivity to context, sustainability, elegance of construction and quality of workmanship.
The new toilet design prize - the Singapore Institute of Architects-Rigel Bathroom Design Awards - is co-presented by local sanitation company Rigel Technology. In the wake of media reports of "Third World" toilets in hawker centres here, introducing the award helps generate greater interest among architects in good bathroom design, said Singapore Institute of Architects president Theodore Chan, 53, who is also a judge for the awards.
He said: "Particularly in our tropical climate, toilets are very important because they can impact a building's ventilation and flow."
For example, placing toilets in the middle of the building, with inadequate ventilation, can obstruct proper air flow throughout the entire property, he explained.