Gardens by The Bay in Singapore – a Whole Greater Than Its Parts

With already several exquisite gardens on the Island, this time Singapore ratcheted up the design several notches.

Flower Dome scene from aboveOriginally published in the Clawson Patch newspaper May 2013.

Michael:  What do you do with 250 acres of reclaimed land? Well if you are the Singapore government your first thought is not how to make money off it, but how to give something nice that benefits the people. Then they do not stop with just a solution, but ponder how to make it even more impressive. And voila, welcome to Gardens by The Bay.

 Graciela: The island country already has three beautiful impressive gardens. The Botanical Gardens treats visitors with 63 hectors of tranquil beauty. Orchids form around the world in well arranged outdoor displays serve beauty at the orchid gardens. The Chinese/Japanese Gardens deliver thirteen hectors of amazement.

 Michael:  So, how do you top all of that? Supertrees is part of the answer. Using technology combined with award winning architecture to show what the country lacks is another part.

From many places around the Marina Bay financial area the 82 to 160 foot tall Supertrees supporting vertical gardens draw the eye. And if you don’t see the trees immediately it is difficult to miss the nearby three sixty story buildings with a ship on top located near the gardens. Getting there is both easy and difficult. It is an easy walk, but resisting the desire to gander through the high end stores like Gucci and Prada in the 800,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is not easy.

 Graciela:  The mall houses a massive fountain, many restaurants with known chefs and gondola rides on a river.

 Michael:  Ok, once you manage to extricate yourself from the shopping area you pass by the ArtScience Museum (the building that looks like a four story tall metal flower) and walk under the stainless steel Helix Bridge. Following the sidewalk leads you to the opening for the gardens.

 Graciela:  I recommend first following the signs to the buildings housing the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest. A ticket to enjoy both costs $25 per person. The buildings have won awards for their design.

 Michael:  I noticed each is constructed in the same fashion as the Sydney Opera House in Australia. The structures are strengthened by the use of tensioned cabling.

I have seen gardens under glass domes before. The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is one of them. But Singapore place goes beyond those places

 Graciela:  The American expression of “boggles the mind,” is my thought. From the idea to the finished product of choosing and getting everything to the gardens alive is amazing. Seventy designs utilizing the creative talents from 170 companies were considered before one was chosen. I can only imagine the work and logistics it took to get such things as the Monkey puzzle tree and the Chilean wine palm to Singapore alive and keep it growing.

The Flower Dome houses a multilevel three acres of area that simulates semi-arid tropical regions like that found in Australia (heavily represented) South Africa and parts of South America. In addition part of the area is for special exhibits. While we were there it featured tulips.

Michael:  The next building is the opposite. It simulates rainy type mountains. Consequently the name for the building is Cloud Forest. What the two acre building lacks in ground space it makes up for in height. Visitors are greeted by a 115 foot waterfall.

An elevator transport you to the sixth floor where you begin your descent through not just flowers and vegetation views, but rocks and an education about our Earth. A video that uses both the wall and floor explains global warming and the effects on our planet if things continue as they are.

 Graciela:  Exiting the buildings it is enjoyable to take a walk through the gardens around the Supertrees. These are free to everyone. At one location is a row of restaurants and coffee shops where you can take a break and just enjoy the view.

 Michael:  However, impressive is a walkway that stretches between three of the Supertrees and offers a great view of the entire gardens.

 Graciela:  Evening when the sun goes down and the heat of the day dissipates begins a new garden look. Hundreds of joggers run through the gardens. But most impressive is the music and light show using the Supertrees. Many people just relax and enjoy.

 Michael: Sí mi Amor – We did just that and expect to do it a few more times before taking our leave of Singapore.

 Graciela:  When visiting do not just look at each individual flower or garden. Consider in your mind the entire area a whole and the thought and work it took to make everything happen.

 Our previous writing on Singapore

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