At this year’s Singapore Garden Festival, award-winning garden designers Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam of Wilson McWilliam Studio have created a two-level installation that resonates with the Singapore zeitgeist.
27 August, 2014
Encouraged by the incredible enthusiasm in Singapore for planting on and in buildings, British designers Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam created a rather ambitious project titled “Sacred Grove”, a two-level garden concept that made its appearance at the recently held Singapore Garden Festival.
The relationships of man-made and the natural environment are central to the design, with a cooling shade area and a water absorbent green roof on which a grove of trees is held aloft adding drama to the installation.
A shady, covered area is created at the lower level by way of a courtyard space. A series of slender, copper poles support the upper, raised garden allowing the space below the trees to be explored. At the centre of the upper canopy, an opening allows sunlight and rainfall to penetrate the space beneath where an asymmetric pool collects run off and reflects the sky and patterns of light and shade above.
Rainwater connects the upper and lower level varying from a lively flow to intermittent droplets of water that activate the pool and animate the space. Environmentally, the absorption of water and its slower release through the roof planting system reflects a more sustainable urban drainage system and helps to control run off.
But how about the plants? These include Schizolobium parahyba with a meadow-like under-planting of Ophiopogon, Arundina and Pogonatherum. Adding colour to the main body of planting are luminous flowers like Hymenocallis, Spathoglottis and Belamcanda. Also tumbling over the edge of the planted roof are delicate hair-like roots of Cissus nodosa together with Asparagus and scented Jasmine.
“[The Singapore Garden Festival] has provided us with an opportunity to experiment with a garden to suit the requirements of a high-rise city – a need we think will grow globally as urban populations increase,” says Andrew Wilson.
“With Sacred Grove garden, we have explored the idea of how a simple coming together of trees, light and shade in a certain combination can create a special place. At the same time, we have endeavoured to create a contemporary design that responds to the modern Singapore lifestyle,” he says, adding, “We hope we have created a decorative and dynamic garden but also a functional space.”
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