Singapore: A Sneak Peek at the Soon-to-Open Gardens by The Bay

  • The Flower Dome harbors flora from the Mediterranean, California, South Africa, and southern Australia.

    The Flower Dome harbors flora from the Mediterranean, California, South Africa, and southern Australia.

  • One of the Flower Dome’s 30 species of orchids.

    One of the Flower Dome’s 30 species of orchids.

  • Chad Davis, the Gardens’ head of conservatory operations.

    Chad Davis, the Gardens’ head of conservatory operations.

  • Some of the sites “super-trees,” which will eventually be cloaked in thick vegetation.

    Some of the sites “super-trees,” which will eventually be cloaked in thick vegetation.

  • The futuristic design of Gardens’ bio-domes achieves just the right balance of heat and light while being energy efficient.

    The futuristic design of Gardens’ bio-domes achieves just the right balance of heat and light while being energy efficient.

  • Inside Bay South Garden’s Flower Dome, a vast conservatory for plants found in the Mediterranean and semi-arid tropical regions.

    Inside Bay South Garden’s Flower Dome, a vast conservatory for plants found in the Mediterranean and semi-arid tropical regions.

Click image to view full size

A sneak peek at Singapore’s soon-to-open Gardens by the Bay

By Daven Wu
Photographs by Darren Soh

For an island that takes barely a half hour to drive across, Singapore has never shied away from ambitious building projects. And now, just a few hundred meters away from the triple towers of the Marina Bay Sands casino resort, another new landmark is shaping up to become the city-state’s next buzzed-about attraction.

Sprawling over an area the size of more than 170 football fields, the 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay is the latest salvo in the city’s utopian vision (and rebranding) of itself as a tropical garden city where lush greenery enfolds 21st-century skyscrapers. The S$1 billion (about US$800 million) project is the result of a landscape-led global competition that was eventually won by the British firm Grant Associates who, in turn, recruited London-based architects Wilkinson Eyre to design the built environment. Already six years in the making, the Gardens, when completed in 2015, will be a focal point for both Singapore’s green credentials and the new central business district currently taking shape on the eastern edge of Marina Bay.

“We wanted a new centerpiece,” says the Gardens’ chief operating officer, Kenneth Er, “something that goes beyond Cornwall’s Eden Project. This was an opportunity to showcase color beyond the usual impression of the green tropics.”

The crown jewel of the three massive waterfront gardens—a 54-hectare twin conservatory complex dubbed Bay South Garden—will be the first to open, with an official debut slated for June 29. Sheathed in steel and glass, the asymmetrical ribbed bio-domes are defiantly futuristic in their silhouette, their raison d’être clearly telegraphed by glimpses of the massed greenery within—around 226,000 plants from every continent except Antarctica.

The Flower Dome, the larger of the two conservatories, had a soft opening last No-vember, just in time for the World Orchid Festival. Kept at a constant 23 to 25 degrees Celsius, it features a cool, dry environment that takes its climatic and botanical cues from the Mediterranean, California, South Africa, and southern Australia. Nestled amid the 1.2-hectare landscape are baobabs and Australian grass trees, olive and fig trees, lavender and tulip fields, Chilean wine palms, and assorted plants that rotate according to the seasons.

Rate this article


Related Posts

Latest Posts