This Living Park May be Singapore’s Most Brilliant Eco-Architectural Gem Yet
By Erica Jordan
Singapore is well known for its nature-based attractions including the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Night Safari and the recently opened River Safari.
Gardens by the Bay is the newest addition to these green space innovations, making this architecturally brilliant metropolis truly a “City in a Garden.” The location of this new attraction, which lies on reclaimed land along the marina, was originally intended as space to extend the financial sector.
Case studies, such as one that was conducted on NYC’s Central Park, show that large green spaces within cities create an unquestionable positive impact on quality of life, though it is often difficult to quantify economic gain.
Still a work in progress, Gardens by the Bay has already drawn international attention through its dazzling architecture and was named the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival 2012. The use of innovative energy saving technologies is also drawing attention to this modern park.
Gardens by the Bay is comprised of three parks. The largest, the Bay South Garden, which opened in June of 2012, is the first and only completed phase of the project. This garden features two large biomes and 18 Supertrees. The climate controlled biomes mimic cool-dry and cool-moist climates.
In addition to plants, these manmade ecosystems include a mountain, waterfall and two lakes that house aquatic plants that filter the water run-off and reduce the nutrient load going back into the nearby reservoir.
Some of the energy reducing features include specially selected glass that allows light to shine through while blocking out heat; a system that de-humidifies air before it is cooled and cools only occupied zones, but the most incredible feature may be that the biomes do not use a single support pillar. All of the glass panels –3,332 for the Flower Dome alone — sit on a steel grid.
The Supertrees are vertical gardens that vary from 20-50 meters in height, which line the OCBC Skyway, a 128-metre long walkway that provide glorious views of the Gardens and Marina Bay area. These structures are created by wrapping a steel frame around a concrete core to support planting panels. The vertical “grove” allows the Gardens to showcase different plant species found in the different strata of forests, including epiphytes and orchids. In fact, there are approximately 162,900 plants representing more than 200 species on these manmade trees. Of the 18 total Supertrees, 11 are also embedded with environmentally sustainable functions such as photovoltaic cells that harvest energy that is later used in the nightly light up show. Some are also connected to the biomes and serve as air exhaust receptacles.
More than 217,000 plants belonging to approximately 800 species and varieties are represented in the Gardens “with the hope that it will help to promote awareness of the wonders of nature and the value of plants to Man and the environment.” In this way, visitors are instilled with new or renewed awareness of plants, while experiencing different ecosystems without disturbing original forests. Gardens by the Bay also supports the sustainability of culture through a wide array of “edutainment” available onsite — from school programs to concerts — to further enhance an understanding of this experience.
About the Writer
Erica Jordan obtained a degree in biology and worked in the pharmaceutical industry before getting addicted to travel. She has since traveled extensively while teaching English in Japan, written a grammar textbook and sailed around the world as an interpreter and translator. Some of her interests include sustainability, modern art and hunting down cozy cafes. You can read about her adventures on Kizzling Around or connect with her on twitter @Kizzling Around.
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