Gardens by the Bay, Singapore’s premier urban outdoor recreation space right next to Marina Bay Sands, unveiled a new attraction last month – a cutting-edge horticultural mega project featuring 18 towering solar-powered “supertrees” and climate-controlled biomes. These tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens’ landscape with heights ranging between 25 meters and 50 meters, are like vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include providing plants, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens.
The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads such as Tillandsia, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies which mimic the ecological function of trees – photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy and can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize; and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, just like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories’ cooling systems.
There is an elevated walkway between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a breathtaking aerial view of the Gardens. A food and beverage outlet is planned atop the 50-meter Supertree. At night, the Supertrees come alive with a light and music show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody.
The entire project is estimated to have cost more than $1 billion.