Supertrees in Singapore: Liveable Green Space in the City

by Signe Cecilie Jochumsen and Søren Smidt-Jensen

Designed by Grant Associates , the 25-50 meter tall trees function not only as a sculptural park, but as a combined vertical garden – a conservatory eco system – where solar panels, air venting tower, and rainwater collection devices are all integrated in the garden. Very few gardens have been developed on such a scale and from ground up. Normally it takes more than 20 years or more to grow a garden of this size, but in Singapore they are doing it on 5-6 years on land that has been reclaimed from the sea.

More photos from the Garden by the Bay in Singapore HERE

The so called “super trees” in the ‘Garden by the Bay’ are constructed of four parts: reinforcement concrete core, trunk, planting panels of the living skin, and canopy. Just like non-mechanized forests, the large canopies operate as temperature moderators, absorbing and relocating heat, as well as providing shadow to the visitors walking below. This combination of technologies can help to achieve at least 30% savings in energy consumption, compared to conventional methods of cooling, according to the project’s website.

The 250-acre urban landscaping project is part of a bigger initiative from Singapore’s National Parks Board called ‘Gardens by the Bay‘. The aim with this fusion of technology, recreational park, art and landscape urbanism is to create a sustainable garden, a livable green space in the city, and in that way try to generate a better and greener environment efficiently: The electricity from the solar panels in the tree tops, is used on site to power everything from lights, water-pumps to  utility systems and related office buildings.

Sky bridges connect a few of the trees, and thereby makes it possible for the most adventurists to walk at the height of high-rise buildings. However, the trees are still just a small element of a larger green space with small lakes, flowers and curvy paths that makes you want to stroll around all day. Surrounding this new eco-oasis in the city are mile-high skyscrapers and sprawling urban areas. It is indeed a spectacular project. At today’s WCS opening ceremony, at the MBS conference center the guest of honor Prime Minister, proudly described the Gardens by the bay as a signature project for Singapore. A city, as I see it, that seems to be succeeding because of  massive and long-term investments in green development, clean technology, and (super) natural power.

Articles from the World Cities Summit brought to you in partnership with The International Federation for Housing and Planning, and Sustainable CitiesTM, a part of the Danish Architectural Centre