Taking up just a fraction of the 250-acre landscaping project known as ‘Gardens by the Bay’ in Singapore, the world’s first ‘mechanical forest’ in Singapore truly is a sight to behold. Opening June 29th, this unique merging of breathtaking engineering and the beauty of nature comprises of 18-man made “supertrees” standing proud at up to 50 metres above the ocean bay.
The gigantic structures are billed as Asia’s latest ‘unmissable’ tourist attraction, that with designs inspired by natures finest -- the trees’ trunks are made up of steel and concrete, while thousands of thick wire rods double-up as branches -- lends the Singaporean skyline an eye-catching and unmistakeably remarkable new look.
But the supertrees themselves are far from being just pretty faces sitting amongst the concrete jungle of Singapore’s high-rise buildings. Standing between 25 and 50 metres tall, the trees act as vertical gardens to exotic plant life, work as air vents to the project’s other conservatories, and, with a built-in photovoltaic system that converts energy from sunlight during the day, acts as a giant solar power generator. Each trees eco-system really is like no other in man-made construction; each tree collects rain water, while the energy each one produces during daylight hours is shared between powering the lights, the water technology systems of the structure, and in heating its own steel framework to help cultivate the exotic ferns, vines and orchids it houses.
When complete, the hugely ambitious project will eventually boast not only the stupendous supertrees and some 200,000 plants from around the world, but the likes of a ‘replicated cloud forest’ and a temperature-controlled ‘flower dome’. At 0.8 hectares, the cloud forest is one of the smaller attractions of the Garden but no less impressive. It replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions, and also features a ‘cloud mountain’, accessible by elevator, that visitors will be able to descend through winding circular path before coming face-to-face with a 35-metre waterfall.
In all, the 'Gardens by the Bay' development is estimated to cost upwards of £350 million and is set to lease new life into the city’s Marina Bay area. And with it, represents a gigantic push by it’s creators to make Singapore the ‘botanical capital of the world’. One thing’s for sure, it’ll take something incredibly special to top it.