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Gardens By The Bay

Garden masterplanner Andrew Grant highlights the landscape wonders of Bay South Garden in Singapore as the city celebrates its new icon. Yvonne Xu reports.

Gardens By The Bay

Garden masterplanner Andrew Grant highlights the landscape wonders of Bay South Garden in Singapore as the city celebrates its new icon. Yvonne Xu reports.



BY

2 July, 2012


Singapore’s Marina Bay has been raising the small nation’s profile globally in the past few years. Its latest development, Bay South – the first and largest of the 3 gardens at Gardens by the Bay – opened over the weekend to much acclaim.

Gardens by the Bay

Photography: Craig Sheppard

The 54-hectare garden showcases the best of the world’s horticulture and garden artistry, but is in itself a design and engineering feat with interlinked strategies to optimise efficiencies in energy, water and resources.

Gardens by the Bay

Photogaphy: Darren Chin

Bay South’s design is spearheaded by British landscape architecture firm Grant Associates working collaboratively with external design and technical teams. In developing the landscape, masterplanner Andrew Grant takes the orchid (Singapore’s national flower) as a starting inspiration. “The stems of the orchid became the path network stretching out across the site, the flowers became the special gardens, the leaves became the fleshy 3D landforms and the roots became the supporting infrastructure,” Grant shares. “This combination of visual beauty and spectacle combined with sustainable infrastructure became the 2 core strands of our approach.”

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay

Building from reclaimed land, the team wanted to give the garden a strong 3-dimensional character to define spaces and to create an engaging experience.

Gardens by the Bay

Photography: Craig Sheppard

“To optimise the effects of level changes we used steep slopes, vertical walls and enhanced the effects by using structures such as large scale planting pergolas…,” Grant shares. “In addition we knew the gardens would need something of stature to stand up against the Marina Bay Sands complex and the future high-rise developments that will wrap the site.”

So forming a distinct architectural canopy are the Supertrees – concrete-core, steel-framed structures with planting panels serving as vertical gardens up to 20m tall. Beyond providing shade and shelter, holding up a 22m-high aerial walkway, and also supporting a bar at the top of the tallest tree, these Supertrees are also integrated with the overall site environmental systems – some have photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy, others boast rainwater harvesting technologies and several are integrated with energy centres and the other features of the garden as linked ecosystems.

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay

Balancing the Supertrees’ verticality are 2 giant biomes designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects on the waterfront – a Flower Dome that replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean and semi-arid subtropical regions like South Africa, and a Cloud Forest Dome that replicates a cool-moist climate found in high-elevation Tropical Montane regions, such as Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia. In these climate-controlled conservatories, about 226,000 plants from every continent except Antarctica are featured, with a suite of cooling and energy-conserving technologies making sure that each of conservatories’ energy consumption is comparable to that of an average commercial building in Singapore of the same footprint and height.

Gardens by the Bay

Photography: Craig Sheppard

“An important idea was to create an inner world visually separate from the city,” Grant says, referring to the Supertree grove that takes on an otherworldly character especially at night. Another experiential treat is found in Cloud Forest Dome, where an abstract mountain inspired by the alpine Lady’s Mantle plant stands as anchor. “The mountain is experienced by travelling to the top by lift and then descending down around and through the mountain on a series of aerial walkways and internal escalators. It is an entirely immersive experience, especially when the misters are working as this creates the misty, eerie environment of the cloud forest.”

Gardens by the Bay
gardensbythebay.com.sg

Grant Associates
grant-associates.uk.com


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