London-based architectural office Wilkinson Eyre have delivered the focal point of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay project, a key part of the government’s vision to transform the island state into a ‘City in a Garden’.
The Cooled Conservatory Complex, at the heart of a 101-hectare site that comprises three distinct waterfront gardens, consists of two large-scale glasshouses, which, covering 20,000 square metres, rank among the biggest climate-controlled structures in the world. Each environment has its own distinctive character – one features a dry climate (the “Flower Dome”), the other a cool, moist one (the “Cloud Forest”) – and examines the relation between climate change and horticulture.
The commission to design the Bay South garden was won in 2006 by a team led by Grant Associates and including Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Atelier One, Atelier Ten, Land Design and Davis Langdon and Seah.
Here’s more on the project from Wilkinson Eyre:
“The Flower Dome tells the story of plants and people in the Mediterranean climate zone, and how the plants cultivated in these regions will gradually become endangered as temperatures rise. It has a planted footprint of more than 10,100 sq m and aims to bring alive the experience of seasonal change for visitors more used to Singapore’s eternally tropical climate and lush green vegetation. From the lavender fields and olive groves of the Cultivated Worlds section to the baobab and pachypodium trees in the Strange Worlds area, the visitor is presented with a unique collection of plants. The landform of the conservatories draws inspiration from Mediterranean landscapes and evokes the language of dry, sun-baked hillsides punctuated with rocky terraces and stony outcrops, and the intimate bond between land, geology, vegetation and cultivation. At the centre of this permanent display is the Flower Field – a vast carpet of flowers in bloom which will change seasonally.
“The Cloud Forest highlights the relationship between plants and the planet, showing how the warming of the cool tropical cloud forests will threaten biodiversity. With a smaller footprint but greater height than Flower Dome, it has at its heart a planted ‘Mountain’ from which a 35m high waterfall drops. Visitors can experience the forest at different levels from a Cloud Walk, a Canopy Walk and the Forest Floor and Ravine Walks. Within the mountain, a series of exhibition spaces describe the impact of incremental temperature change and the sustainable technologies employed across the gardens, while at its foot is the Ravine – a series of darkened secret gardens surrounded in mist.”