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Monday, September 24, 2012

UK architects complete breathtaking Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore

UK architects complete breathtaking Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore

The world has been waiting with baited breath for the completion of the Gardens by the Bay scheme in Singapore and the day is nearly upon us. Conceptualised by a British design team including Grant Associates, Wilkinson Eyre, Atelier Ten, Atelier One, Land Design Studio and Thomas Matthews, the first phase of this mammoth landscape and leisure scheme has now been realised, transforming 54 hectares of reclaimed land into an educational entertainment experience.

Arguably the most recognisable feature of the £500m development is the Grant Associates-designed forest of Supertrees, a cluster of 18 structural forms which vary in height between 25 and 50 metres and act as scaffolding for a living network of climbers, epiphytes and ferns. During the day, these soaring spectacles add to the educational experience as a series of vertical gardens, but as the sun falls, they are animated by dramatic light shows and projected media.

Back in December 2011, WAN sent reporter Bronte Cullum to check up on the construction progress of this gargantuan scheme. She wrote: “The Supertrees, amongst all of the other intrepid developments of the Gardens by the Bay project, are by far the most audacious. Walking away from this capacious piece of architecture left me awed, with a nostalgic sense of wonder for the future.”

It was this ‘wow’ factor that Andrew Grant, Director of landscape architects Grant Associates, was so keen to capture in his concept: “Our brief for Gardens by the Bay was to create the most amazing tropical gardens in the world, incorporating cutting edge environmental design and sustainable development principles. We wanted to capture people’s relationship with nature and use innovative technology to create rich lifestyle, educational and recreational experiences for both local residents of Singapore and visitors from around the world.”

To fulfil the educational requirements of the brief, the team imagined a pair of immense biomes: the 1.2 hectare Flower Dome and the slightly smaller 0.8 hectare Cloud Forest Dome. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the two bulbous forms encase specially-crafted environments where endangered plants and those not native to Singapore are able to grow in abundance.

There are still two phases to complete before the entire Gardens by the Bay vision is realised. Phase one saw the completion of Bay South, but there are still the Gardens of Bay East and Bay Central to finalise. Once this is seen through, the Gardens by the Bay scheme will measure an astonishing 101 hectares on Singapore’s waterfront. Bay South will open to the public on 29 June 2012.

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