Along Singapore’s Marina Bay, a landscaping project known as Gardens by the Bay hopes to beautify the marina and help transform the dense city-state into a “city in the garden.” But with futuristic design features that border on otherworldly, this garden is unlike any you’ve seen before.
Due to their sheer height and fantastical appearance, Gardens by the Bay’s defining feature is almost certainly its collection of 18 “Supertrees.” With heights ranging from 80 to 160 feet and light displays that come alive at night, the Supertrees complement the nearby high-rises and add distinctive flair to the Singapore skyline.
As you may have guessed, these trees are not trees in the traditional sense, but rather a series of man-made frames which house both greens and green technology. Roughly 200 species of orchids, ferns, and other tropical climbers scale the Supertrees’ trunks, forming a lush, colorful skin. In some regards the Supertrees imitate the functions of regular trees: absorbing and redistributing heat, collecting and filtering rainwater, and providing shade with their expansive canopies. Eleven of the trees are outfitted with either solar panels, which power the Supertree Grove’s lighting displays, or ventilation systems used to capture exhaust from the park’s greenhouses. Visitors can get an up-close look at these mechanical marvels from a 72-foot-high walkway known as the OCBC Skyway.
The Supertrees, though probably the park’s most visually commanding features, are by no means the only impressive attraction at Gardens by the Bay; the garden complex is also home to two enormous greenhouses, as well as several outdoor gardens and lakes. The Flower Dome supports thousands of varieties of cool-dry climate plants and flowers, while the nearby Cloud Forest fosters plants that prefer wet conditions found on mountains and tropical highlands. Both of these greenhouses use sustainable technologies to minimize the their environmental impact.
In addition to incorporating elements of the natural world into Singapore’s city life, Singapore’s government hopes the project will attract ecotourists from around the world.
Know Before You Go
While there is an entrance fee for the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome, the outdoor gardens including the Supertree Grove are free. Don’t miss the spectacular light and sound show that takes place at the Supertree Grove at 7:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. every night. The gardens are open 5:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. daily, but are not illuminated in the early morning. The Supertree lights are turned off at midnight.