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Gardens by the Bay is a theme garden located in the Marina Bay, Singapore, bordering the Marina Reservoir. It consists of parks, restaurants and event spaces designed around the concept of a garden. The phased development comprises of the Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and the Bay Central Garden.
The first idea to build the Gardens by the Bay was declared by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in August 2005. The project aims to transform Singapore into a global city by raising the standard of living and creating open green spaces where people can enjoy leisure time and work. The waterfront gardens will reflect the tropical flora of Singapore and protect the environment.
In 2006, an international competition was held to select the best master plan for the project. An 11-member jury panel selected Grant Associates to design the Bay South and Gustafson Porter for the Bay East. The Bay Central garden will be taken up at a later time. The entire development will cover an area of 110ha.
The construction of Bay South Garden started in 2007, followed by that of Bay East. The Bay East Garden was opened for a brief period in 2010 to host the rowing and canoeing events of the Youth Olympic Games. It was finally opened to the public in 2011.
Gardens by the Bay contractors
The overall master plan and design of the Bay South Garden was provided by Grant Associates, with the assistance of Wilkinson Eyre. Atelier One provided the structural engineering designs, while Atelier Ten made the garden environmentally sustainable and Light Design Studio is responsible for the unique lighting of the garden.
Marina Bay development master plan
The Bay South Garden is spread across 54ha. It comprises a grove of Supertrees, two cooled conservatories named the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, two gardens known as Heritage Garden and World of Plants, which depict Singapore’s history, and two lakes. In addition, it has two open spaces, called Meadow and Silver Leaf, which are meant for hosting outdoor events, such as cocktail parties, corporate gatherings, sports events, family occasions, community functions and carnivals.
It also has two horticulture-themed gardens consisting of two lakes, named Dragonfly and Kingfisher. The shops and various themed restaurants make the Bay South Garden a financial hub, as well as somewhere to generate employment.
The Bay East Garden consists of three open spaces, Promenade Lawn, Central Grove and Palm Grove, which can be used to host events.
The Supertrees are man-made structures that resemble mature trees of 25m to 50m. They support 162,900 tropical climbing plants of nearly 200 species from various tropical countries, such as Brazil. There are 18 Supertrees, 12 of them are placed in the grove, while the remaining six line the entry point of the garden and the Dragonfly Lake, in clusters of three.
The Flower Dome exhibits Mediterranean plants and has an indoor events space, as well as food and beverage outlets. The Cloud Forest represents the flora of a moist climate of a region located at a height of 1,000m to 3,500m above the sea level. It has a 35m-high mountain with a waterfall.
Design for Gardens by the Bay
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The Bay South Garden’s layout design resembles an orchid. The footpaths and links form the stem of the flower, the buildings and other facilities form the root, while the main garden resembles the orchid flower and its leaves.
The inner vertical structure that supports the Supertree is made of reinforced concrete, the steel frame that envelopes the reinforced concrete forms the trunk. Planting panels are placed in this trunk to allow the climbing plants to grow on it.
The conservatories, designed by Wilkinson Eyre, offer a cool and dry climate from the domes that are covered with glass panels and can house 22,600 varieties of endangered plant species from different continents.
The Meadow open event space can accommodate 30,000 people. The Silver Leaf is located under the grove of silver coloured Supertrees. The design of the Heritage Garden and the World of Plants was inspired by the ideas of ‘Plants and People’ and ‘Plants and Planet’.
Grant Associates, in collaboration with Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), unveiled a 128m-long aerial walkway, where visitors can view the garden from a height of 22m. The walkway is suspended from the 50m-high Supertrees and gives a bird’s eye view of the entire garden.
The Bay East Garden is designed to accommodate up to 8,000 people. The Promenade Lawn has an area of 3,000 square metres and seats 10,000 people. The Central Grove occupies 6,000 square metres and fits in 2,000 people during events. The Palm Grove with swaying palms covers 10,000 square metres of space and has a seating capacity for 30,000 people.
Singapore’s Marina Bay architecture
The Bay East Garden is a lot quieter than the Bay South Garden and visitors can sit back, relax and enjoy the surrounding views. Clusters of colourful leaves and flowers displayed in the open spaces will capture the visitors’ attention.
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The canopies of the man-made Supertrees light up at dark to give the garden a dream-like look. Light and sound shows are conducted in the grove, while the canopy is shaped like inverted umbrellas.
The colour schemes of the Supertrees vary from red, brown, orange, yellow, silver and gold. A food and beverage outlet designed by Wilkinson Eyre is at the top of a 50m Supertree.
The Meadow, shaped like a flower bowl, gives visitors views of the grove of Supertrees and the conservatories.
Sustainability of Gardens by the Bay
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The design of the Gardens by The Bay has incorporated many sustainable features. Photovoltaic cells are planted in the Supertrees to store solar energy for lighting up the trees at night, while rainwater harvesting and air-exhausts for the cooling conservatories are provided.
The conservatories use thermal stratification to rise up warm air and allow cool air to stay on the ground, therefore preventing the use of electricity and air-conditioners to cool their interiors.
The chilled water pipes covered with ground slabs cool the floor of the two domes, with the waste heat generated by the water chillers used to run the liquid desiccant, which dehumidifies and cools the air without wasting any energy.
The plant wastes are used to operate a combined heat and power (CHP) biomass steam turbine that helps to co-generate electricity.
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