Gardens By The Bay Singapore

Gardens By The Bay in Singapore is touted to be one of the most advanced and modern garden projects in the world that many are talking about. Located just by the Marina Bay Sands, this massive garden project with a total area of 101 hectares or 177 football fields is set to be operational by the end of 2011. Spread into three waterfront gardens is the Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central gardens which will compliment part of the Marina Bay City area. This massive project that started off in 2007 cost slightly over S$1 Billion dollars (US$800 Million) and is much awaited by many people around the world.

Artist impression of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore

Initiated in January 2006 on reclaimed land, the Singapore government and National Parks Board launched a master plan design competition worldwide which attracted participants from over 24 countries. At the final stage of the competition, eight short-listed teams submitted a Master Plan Design for the Gardens. The designs were judged by a Jury, comprising international and local senior members of the architecture and landscape architecture community, the CEOs of NParks, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB). Eventually two firms won the contract with their unique designs and were awarded the master plan design. They are Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter who are currently developing Bay South for the completion this year end. For the public, it will be officially open in June of 2012.

Clam Shells at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Bay South

Bay South which is the first of the gardens is currently being built and is the much talked about garden and is the largest of the three gardens with a total area of  54 hectares. It also aims to showcase the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry. The Calm Shells you see in the pictures is actually the conservatory complex which comprises two cooled conservatories - the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest which is situated along the edge of the Marina Reservoir. The Conservatories are energy efficient – a showcase of sustainable building technologies. They also provide an all-weather edutainment space within the Gardens. The average temperatures inside the glasshouses are set at 17 to 23 degrees Celsius.

Flower Dome Singapore - Image from MND Singapore

The Flower Dome 

This is the larger of the two, at 1.2 hectares. It replicates cool dry conditions and will feature permanent displays of plants found in the Mediterranean and semi-arid tropical regions. The facade of the 1.2-hectare Flower Dome is made up of 3,300 special glass panels, which let in the sunlight while keeping the heat out. This allows the conservatory to mimic the cool-dry climate of the Mediterranean. To ensure energy efficiency, only areas occupied by plants and visitors will be cooled. 

The main conservatory is also divided into smaller gardens featuring plants such as poppy flowers from California and Cat's Paw plants from Australia. One of the gardens, the Flower Field - will have changing displays including live tulips and lavender. Currently, 8 Ceiba chodatii from Argentina, 11 Olive trees from Spain and France, and 6 large Baobabs from Africa are housed in here.

Cloud Forest Singapore - Image from Buro Four

The Cloud Forest 

The could forest is slightly smaller at 0.8 hectares. It replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1000 to 3000 metres above sea level. It will also mirror tropical high elevation regions like those in South America and Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. Among some of the plants here, the rare Wollemi Pine from Australia will be one of the highlights.

It features a ‘Cloud Mountain’ that is accessible by an elevator, and visitors will be able to descend the mountain via a circular path where a 35-metre waterfall provides visitors with refreshing cool air. The conservatory will also have an event space which can be rented out for weddings and other functions. There will also be two restaurants within the conservatory - one serving Mediterranean cuisine and the other, Chinese.

Singapore Supertree - Image courtesy of DailyMail UK

Singapore SuperTrees or Solar Trees

One of the highlights here would be the Singapore Supertree. These amazing man made steel trees are from 30 to 55 meters high and are combined with natural flora surrounding them. They are also made of dense concrete trunks with intertwined metal rods functioning as branches and shades. There will be a vertical display of tropical flowering climbers, ferns and epiphytes on each of the trees. Rainwater catches and hanging gardens will be implemented and a 22 meter high walkway will join two of these supertrees for guest to admire the overall view. Check out Inhabitat for more information and pictures about the SuperTrees.


Artist impression of the lake at Marina Bay

Kingfisher Lake 

This is one of two main lakes in Gardens by the Bay. On the 1st of November 2010,  Kikkoman Singapore, the local manufacturing facility of Japan-based soy sauce manufacturer Kikkoman Corporation, agreed to a S$1 million sponsorship for the enhancement of the Kingfisher Lake which is one of the key features in the upcoming Gardens by the Bay. The donation will be channeled to the enhancement of Kingfisher Lake, particularly the upper and lower levels of the lake and water features such as Forest Spring, The Streams, Victoria Lily Pool and Boulder Cascade.

Construction of the Marina Bay Gardens, picture taken in July 2010

If you are staying at the Marina Bay Sands Room or been up the Sands SkyPark, you would most probably have seen the massive construction going on towards the sea. This is exactly where the project is taking place. With a 24 hour working rate, they are hoping to get phase one ready by the end of this year. While I stayed at the MBS, I had a room facing the Gardens so I took these pictures twice, once in July 2010 and another again in March 2011.

Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. Picture taken in March 2011


View from Marina Bay Sands of the Gardens

About the two design teams for Gardens By The Bay - Singapore.
  • Gustafson Porter, Ove Arup, Davis Langdon & Deah Singapore Pte Ltd
  • Grant Associates, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Atelier One, Atelier Ten, Land Design Studios, Meinhardt Infrastructure Pte Ltd, Davis Langdon & Seah Singapore Pte Ltd
Where is Gardens By The Bay? 
It is located in the Marina Bay Business District in South most Singapore. It is also close to Sentosa Island. To get here, you can simply get on the MRT and stop at Marina Bay Station or Tanjong Pagar Station. From here, it is a short walk. The most prominent land marks near by will be the Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Merlion. 

Attractions here:
There is a planned Flower Market, Hotel, Function Halls and Restaurants among the many attractions here.

Gardens by the Bay Map

The Marina Bay Gardens in Singapore comprise three distinctive waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central – featuring two conservatories, themed gardens and a waterfront promenade. It currently has more than 275,000 plants of about 8,000 species and varieties. For more information, you can visit the Gardens By The Bay official website or National Parks Board Singapore.

A spokesperson for NParks says previews of Bay South will be arranged for organized groups from February 2012. The public will also get a sneak peek of the Flower Dome in November this year, during the World Orchid Conference from 13-20 November 2011.

For those looking forward to this massive beautiful garden project, you will have to wait till end of 2011 or in June 2012 to see the first phase which is Bay South. The overall project will be fully completed by 2013 or 2014. As an avid plant and flora lover, I too am waiting to visit the Gardens By The Bay in Singapore.

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