Manmade Woodland

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Towering in front of tall skyscrapers, these enormous tree appear to be thriving in the middle of the city.

But the vast woodland in Singapore is actually entirely manmade, stretching up to 50 metres into the sky.

The imposing trees have colossal concrete trunks weighing hundreds of tonnes. While thousands of thick wire rods have been used to create artificial branches and canopies.

The incredible installation, which is still being built, was created as a national landmark as the island looks to create a vast green space in its Marina South district that will become the ‘botanical capital of the world’.

But the towering supertrees will be hard to miss for the thousands of people expected to descend on the recreation area.

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Each Supertree will have added to it a canopy weighing around 20 to 85 tonnes. This will be hoisted into place over three to four hours by a hydraulic-jack system.

Steel frames are then added onto the sides to represent the dark bark of natural woodland.

Environmental experts have even been drafted in to add solar panels to seven of the trees. The energy will then be used to light the areas below.

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The entire structure will house a cluster of green conservatories when it is completed by the end of 2010. Inside the trees there will be plants from around the world. The park will also become home to the Singapore Garden Festival.

Hanging gardens and rainwater catches will be added to the trees and a 22 metre high walkway will be made between two of the canopies allowing guests to take in a view of the scenery.

The Gardens at Marina South is one of three waterfront garden projects under the massive Gardens by the Bay initiative, with the other two in Marina East and Marina Center.

Leaders want to  create a continuous ring of greenery, with the three gardens wrapping around the Marina Bay area.

‘They have to be lightweight, they have to be maintainable and hardy, and a great amount of effort has gone into looking for plants that can actually be sustained on this living skin,’ Kenneth Er from Gardens by the Bay told Channel News Asia.

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Description from WilkinsonEyre:

This project was won in an international design competition as part of a team led by landscape architects Grant Associates. The masterplan for Marina South forms part of Singapore’s new Gardens by the Bay development and will draw from the distinctive flora of the region to create a new destination in the city. It has been designed as a series of distinct ecosystems which will enable the gardens to function with maximum environmental efficiency, and to showcase those world habitats most at risk from climate change. The garden at Marina South is home to some of the site’s most spectacular structures, including two cooled conservatories which are among the largest climate-controlled glasshouses in the world. The cool-dry conservatory explores issues related to plants and people, whilst the cool-moist conservatory focuses on plants and the planet.

Date: Appointed September 2006
Location: Singapore
Client: National Parks Board Singapore
Type: Cultural, Sport & Leisure
Theme: Landscape & Public Realm, Sustainability
Ideas: Advanced Geometry, Responsive Structures
Link: www.gardensbythebay.org.sg
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