By British team Wilkinson Eyre Architects in conjunction with structural engineers Grant Associates and environmental engineers Atelier One.
Singapore is home to many spectacular architectural and horticultural sights. Not least of these is the new and breathtaking Bay South Garden. This futuristic approach to garden design is pioneering in combining a spectacular unity between natural and architectural elements.
Built on reclaimed land this fabulous and sustainable horticulture project extends over a massive 54 h. The gardens are the site of three important contemporary horticultural installations including the lyrically named Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome and vertical gardens called Supertrees.
Sculptural Glass and Steel Architecture Houses Sustainable Horticulture Project
Possibly the most dominant architectural features of this ambitious sustainable horticulture project are the vast and sculptural glass and steel constructions. These house massive conservatories which mimic the complex climates and plant life of Mediterranean and Cloud Forest regions bringing fabulous biodiversity to the tropical urban climate of Singapore.
These are no ordinary conservatories they are able to house fabulous cascading waterfalls and stunning levels of vertical planting and perpetually flowering meadows. This is really a world within a world, bringing natural life to the built up city region. High level walkways enable visitors to explore the awe inspiring environment above the tree canopy.
This project has sustainability at its heart. The sweeping curves of the conservatory architecture have been created to facilitate the most cutting edge methods in passive climate control. These include carbon neutral cooling and computer controlled light and shade modifications. The installations rely on environmentally sustainable functions such as photovoltaic cells to harness solar energy for lighting, and cooling functions.
Form and Function Unite in the Sustainable Horticulture of Bay South Garden
To the south of the conservatories are the fantastic towering structures of the ‘Supertrees’ which rise majestically over the bay. These rise up to 50 meters high and are laden with exotic plant life. Providing welcome areas of shade, these futuristically sculptural trees are designed not just for their spectacular aesthetic appeal but for very practical purposes. They are vital to the continuation of the sustainable horticulture project as they collect solar energy, and vent excess heat away from the complex.
Paul Baker, Director of the architects Wilkinson Eyre, explained how the forms and materials of the conservatories relate directly to Singapore’s magnificent modern cityscape while the living plant life within is more closely connected to the natural environment of the bay. Therefore, these buildings link these two remarkable but contrasting habitats in one concept.
The sublimely beautiful South Bay Garden opened as recently as June 29th, 2012. The elaborate plans that resulted in the realization of this sustainable horticulture project is surely going to change the lives of Singapore’s residents and also transform the experience of visitors to the city.