Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gardens by the Bay

The next stop on my virtual travels brings me to the awe-inspiring Gardens by the Bay.  The Gardens is a 250 acre park located in southern Singapore and is one of the many recent developments to the Marina Bay area.  It is divided into three different parks: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden.  Currently, the Bay South Garden is the only project which is fully complete.

Photo by Craig Sheppard

Managed by the Singapore National Park Board, this incredible project was designed by a team of two firms: landscape architects, Grant Associates and architects, Wilkinson Eyre Architects.  To date, it is estimated that the first phase of the project cost a whopping 1 billion Singapore dollars (approx. U.S. $810,000,000).

Bay South Garden, the largest of the waterfront gardens, is where you’ll find what is probably the most unique aspect of the park - the impressive Supertrees. These concrete and metal framed tree like structures are covered in bromeliads, ferns and tropical flowering climbers creating what is essentially a vertical garden.  During the day the trees will provide shade to park goers  At night they are brilliantly lit by a sophisticated lighting system.  There are eighteen Supertrees in all ranging in height between 80 to 160 feet.  They are designed and constructed with environmental technologies which are to mimic the ecological functions and abilities of trees.  To mimic how trees use photosynthesis to capture light and convert it into useful energy, eleven of the trees are embedded with photo-voltaic solar cells to help power park lights and water systems.  To represent how trees absorb, translocate, store and use water, supertrees are designed to collect and distribute rainwater to plants and fountains.

Photo by Pete Hottelet

The conservatory complex comprises two cooled conservatories – The Cloud Forest and Flower Dome.

The Cloud Forest (left) and Flower Dome

Cloud Forest is a 2 acre conservatory which replicates the conditions found in tropical mountainous regions.
It features a vegetation covered 35 meter mountain from which spills what is touted as the worlds largest indoor waterfall.

Photo by Zhang Wenjie

Photo by Craig Sheppard

At a whopping 3 acres, the Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean and semi-arid sub-tropical regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy.

Photo by Craig Sheppard

As a side note, the luxurious Marina Bay Sands is only a five minute walk from the Gardens.  From a distance the two make for a wonderful skyline scene.

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