The Supertree Grove in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay fuses technology with nature. By day, visitors can enjoy a variety of garden settings and shade from the sun. At night the Supertrees light up and put on an otherworldly display.
To bring a project as innovate as this to life requires no small amount of skill. Landscape architects Grant Associates and architects Wilkinson Eyre Architects worked together on the Gardens by the Bay project. It contains 18 Supertrees total which range in height from about 82 to 164 feet. The tallest tree has a restaurant at the top. Some of the taller trees are connected by walkways, allowing visitors to get an up-close look at the plants and also a birds-eye view of the gardens below.
The project was initiated by Singapore’s National Parks Board and was envisioned to be a park like none other. It opened to the public in 2012. The Supertrees themselves hold over 163,000 plants. More than just aesthetically pleasing these trees have jobs! They perform duties such as harvesting rainwater, collecting solar power, and providing ventilation for the nearby conservatories.
The Supertrees occupy an area of about 133 acres and the entire site is about 249 acres. About 188 football fields could fit in an area of that size.
Grant architects painstakingly poured over every detail such as what color to make the structure of each tree, what materials to use, and what plants to use. Interestingly, each tree was given its own unique look by the plants used on it.
The Supertrees themselves are built around a concrete cylinder. The trunk and branches rise up around that core. A substrate system which houses the plants clips to the branches. An irrigation system is hidden within to provide water to the plants. See below for a 1-minute video on how they were made.
A variety of plants were used such as orchids, ferns, tropical flowering climbers, and bromeliads. Plants were chosen based on factors such as being lightweight, hardy, soil-less, and possessing high visual interest.
This colossal project was large in scale and also in vision; creating something that the world has not seen before and establishing Singapore as a leader in green spaces.