British studio Wilkinson Eyre Architects and landscape architects Grant Associates have teamed together and designed the Gardens by the Bay project, the largest tropical garden in Singapore with tree-like towers.
Gardens by the Bay by Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre Architects:
“Bay South is the largest garden at Gardens by the Bay and it stands at 54 hectares located next to the Marina Bay Sands. Masterplanned by UK-based landscape architecture firm Grant Associates, this lively and vibrant garden showcases the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry with a mass display of tropical flowers and coloured foliage and more. Key highlights are:
Designed by Grant Associates as tree-like structures between 25 metres and 50 metres in height (9 to 16 storeys), the 18 Supertrees are uniquely designed vertical gardens, with emphasis placed on creating a “wow” factor through the vertical display of tropical flowering climbers, epiphytes and ferns. At night, these canopies come alive with lighting and projected media produced by Lighting Planners Associates.
The Supertrees are embedded with sustainable energy and water technologies integral to the cooling of the Conservatory.
Given the equatorial climate, the grove of Supertrees will help to ameliorate discomfort by providing shade and shelter with the canopy.
The Supertrees support a bar at the top of the tallest tree (designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects) and an aerial walkway experience 20m above the ground (designed by Grant Associates).
The Conservatory Complex is an architectural icon, a horticultural attraction and a showcase of sustainable energy technology.
Comprising two biomes designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects – the Flower Dome (1.2 hectare) and the Cloud Forest (0.8 hectare) – that display plants and flowers from the Mediterranean-type climatic regions and Tropical Montane (Cloud Forest) environments respectively, the Conservatory Complex will provide an all-weather “edutainment” space within the Gardens.
The internal gardens and landscapes are designed by Grant Associates in collaboration with Wilkinson Eyre Architects.
To ascertain the environmentally sensitive energy requirements of the Conservatory, NParks commissioned an energy modeling study. The study shows that, by applying the latest cooling technologies, the energy consumption for the Conservatory is comparable to that of an average commercial building in Singapore of the same footprint and height, normalised to a 24-hour cooling period.
Horticultural Themed Gardens
Designed by Grant Associates with planting by NParks, these gardens showcase the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry. Together with mass flowering and coloured foliage landscape, they form a spectacle of colour and texture and fragrance within the Gardens, providing a mesmerising experience for visitors.
There are 2 collections, namely the Heritage Gardens and The World of Plants, which centre on the subjects: ‘Plants and People’ and ‘Plants and Planet’.
This is a collection of 4 gardens that reflects the history and culture of Singapore’s main ethnic groups as well as the city-state’s colonial heritage. Each Garden explores the rich cultural significance of different plant species including their symbolism, religious significance, trade, food and medicinal uses etc.
The Malay Garden tells the story of life in a traditional “kampong” (village)
The Indian Garden’s layout echoes a traditional illustrated flower motif.
The Chinese Garden reflects the role of gardens in Chinese culture as places of inspiration for writers, poets and artists, through seclusion and tranquility.
The Colonial Garden tells the story of plants as “Engines of Empire” – lucrative crops, spices and plants that formed important trade routes between the East and the West.
The World of Plants:
The second collection of gardens is based on the theme “Plants and Planet” and showcases the biodiversity of plant life on our planet. There are 6 gardens in total:
Secret Life of Trees examines trees, what they are, their functions and their evolution. It also investigates the role of trees in the rainforest.
World of Palms celebrates the rich diversity of the world of tropical palms and their particular ecological niches. Different shapes of fronds and seeds, as well as the versatile use of palms are also highlighted in the garden.
Understorey features the forest root zone & plant species of the forest floor. Stories include how plants have adapted to the specific environments such as low light levels and poor soil as well as the cycle of decomposition.
Fruits and Flowers is about the amazing world of flowers and fruits. There are stories about the form and function of flowers and fruits, why plants need flowers and fruits and the domestication of rainforest fruits.
Discovery Garden looks at plant evolution throughout the lifespan of the planet, and focuses on selected ancient groups of plants. By providing visitors with a glimpse of the long time it took for the plant diversity we see today to evolve, it also draws a comparison with the accelerated rate of extinction caused by man.
Web of Life focuses on the interrelationship of rainforest flora with fauna. The main subject will be the web of life. This will include the keystone species and food chains in the tropical rainforest. The focus will be on the fig as keystone species.
Other Bay South Garden Attractions
In addition to this collection of special gardens, the site includes a wide range of additional Garden attractions. These include:
Supertree Grove is the largest garden at the heart of the site featuring a cluster of 12 Supertrees. The garden is lined by a 300m long colonnaded walkway providing shaded and dry connection across the site and by a display of Aerial Root pergolas displaying tropical climbing plants.
Dragonfly Lake is a 1km long lake creating a dramatic setting to the Supertrees and Conservatories. The distinctive Dragonfly Bridge connects the city to the central gardens. The lake is lined by boardwalk and special aquatic gardens and a system of filter beds that are part of the water quality management for the site.
Marina promenade is a 1km tree lined walkway along the Marina edge linking the city centre with the Barrage.
Tadpole Play Area is a nature themed playground set within a planted rainforest.
Fragile Forest has been planted using native species to simulate a typical S.E. Asian Rainforest.
Photos courtesy of Grant Associates
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