Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Supertrees in Singapore

8:42 PM By Barry Smyth 9 comments

I must admit to being very excited by the Gardens by the Bay project here in Singapore. It's a 3 phased project that aims to create three distinctive waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central, spanning a total of 101 hectares. These gardens are set in the heart of Singapore’s new downtown Marina Bay, encircling the Marina Reservoir.

Gardens by the Bay is an integral part of a strategy by the Singapore government that further transforms Singapore from a ‘Garden City’ to a ‘City in a Garden'. Bay South is the largest of the three gardens at 54 hectares and aims to showcase the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry. Supertrees are tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens landscape with heights that range between 25 and 50 meters. They are vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens.

The basic design of each super-tree consists of a concrete tower as the main trunk part, with metals rods unfurling in an expansive ‘canopy’ (at the top) to denote the branching out of twigs and leaves. This artificial branching system will actually be filled with real plants and leaves to have an enthralling effect of a real giant tree with copious foliage. The natural canopy of green materials (including plants, vegetations and leaves) will weigh at a whopping 20 to 85 tonnes per tree, additionally, dark shaded steel frames would be incorporated on the side facades for naturalistic look of brownish bark.

But the naturalism doesn’t end here; designers have also looked forth to install solar panels to seven such trees. The resultant clean electricity will be used to power the ground lighting system during various exhibitions. Other than that, there would be rainwater collecting systems and even a 22m high broad walkway connecting two canopies. This spatial element will provide enticing views for tourists all over the metal garden.

It's a brilliant concept, and the supertrees themselves are really awe inspiring, futuristic and functional. To watch the city skyline change to encompass this concept is just simply amazing and I really can't wait to get up close and personal when this phase of the project opens to the public 2012.

I'm amazed how much more this has made me fall in love with Singapore. While other cities stagnate and remain frozen in time barely changing and locked in past architectural glories Singapore moves forward merging the past with the present while ever looking to the future.

To be here to witness change on such scale with such commitment and passion is truly breath taking.

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  1. Anonymous11:34 PM

    Such a grand project with exciting futuristic concepts built by tax-payers money should be good for tourists and the rich elites who have the resources and time to appreciate the finer things in life.

    For the average ahbengs, samy and ali in Singapore who are always struggling to make ends meet, such monuments and wonders of Singapore cut no ice. Even if these project create jobs, are these jobs suitable for Singaporeans or for the cheaper, faster and better 'foreign talents'. Will the admission be free or will there be exorbitant entrance fees etc which will price Singaporean families out.

    Who is going to pay for the maintenance of these icons. I'm skeptical and cynical of anything which the present regime intends to roll out because the price and burden will eventually be borne by the unfairly discriminated Singaporean. Excited? Really sick and disoriented.

  2. I can appreciate where the comment comes from and I guess only time will answer the questions you ask. But if you can put that aside for a moment you have to admit it's a brilliant project. And if at the end of the day it shines a spot light on Singapore that has to be good for everyone in the long run .... and yes I am forever an optimist, life is too short to be otherwise.

  3. Anonymous6:43 AM

    Barry, history already shows us, opulence can really harm the society in the long run, all in the name of looking good. Look at Dubai, the fan island houses is a good idea, but it is now in a state of disarray. Greece rebuilt their infrastructure for their 2004 Olympics, see what happened to them now. Spending money on lavish projects that does not improve the life of people living in the country to me is a wrong policy, and ultimately as what the first Anon poster said, it only benefits the rich and the tourists.

    Showing this to a street lady picking up cardboards or the old man clearing the bowls in the hawker centre, all these stuff means nothing to them, for it cannot fill their stomach.

    The MBS casino was also a "brilliant concept", and it wows everyone all over the world with a Skypool. Yet behind the scene, so many have succumbed to gambling and lost lots of money in the process, resulting in broken families and lost lifes. Is this a society you want to live in, a shiny facade you can see with unspeakable darkness that you do not want to know about?

  4. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Hi, I posted the above comments at 11:34 pm. I may sound pessimistic and negative for the rant; but the fact remains that the quality of governmental policies has deteriorated over the past decade and it's getting worse by the days.

    Singapore can be a better managed and desirable place if the underlying philosophy to provide public goods and services is based on cost or cost plus or 'co-operative' model instead of treating such endeavors as profit centers. This country is still being run like a corporation where its tentacles reaches out to strangle each and every of its citizens.

    I'm like you, a natural ever-optimist. Indeed, life is for living liken to my motto of 'cape deim'. Unfortunately my lenses have been tinted somewhat of late. I am also concerned on what their plans are for the old botanic gardens. Will the govt close it down once the marina bay gardens is completed and convert it to another iconic skyscraper project? Bottom line is that the rate of change in Singapore is incredibly fast if not disturbing. Long run - good? Milton Keynes reminds us that we will be dead in the long run, right?

    I appreciate your quality blog postings very much and I would like to encourage you to continue with what you enjoy best.

    You may wish to treat my ramblings just as some chaotic thoughts of debatable nonsense. *smile*

  5. Yep, I can get that and I'm not saying that its right or wrong. It's true that casino's have had an impact on people as you say, although they are not a cause in of themselves since anyone who is prone to gambling is going to find a way to do so. Yes its made it more accessible, although the entrance fee has discouraged many also. There are pro's and con's for everything I guess and I'm currently not on either side.

    And for the ordinary people as opposed to the elite, the rich and the tourist, I guess time will tell if things will change. The last general election sent a message and in 4 years time the people of Singapore will have the ability to reinforce that message if they believe their interests are not being addressed. I have faith in my many friends in that regard.

    Your point on maintaining these things though is a very interesting one and I guess we won't know the answer to that until much later. Maybe I'm a bit of a dreamer in that regard, but I like to think it will be more than just a flash in the pan.

    Thanks for the comment.

  6. Anonymous11:37 AM

    If the idea is 'to have an enthralling effect of a real giant tree', wouldn't it be a lot cheaper and easier to plant a real tree?

    The whole concept is pointless, a waste of money, whose only purpose, I suspect, is so that the administration can say that Singapore is the world leader in making fake trees.

  7. The shapes of the supertrees remind me of the movie "Avatar".

  8. Anonymous8:11 PM

    hey joey just said what i told you earlier today lol!

  9. I also went to Singapore last July and I missed these breath taking super trees. I strolled over Marina Bay but was not able to see them. Next time, I'd look for them. Thanks for sharing them here.

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