Movie: Chris Wilkinson
on Gardens by the Bay


World Architecture Festival 2012: "No one's ever seen anything like it before," director of Wilkinson Eyre Architects Chris Wilkinson tells Dezeen in this movie we filmed overlooking the Gardens by the Bay tropical garden in Singapore, which was named World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival earlier this month.

Gardens by the Bay

Wilkinson Eyre Architects collaborated with landscape architects Grant Associates and engineers Atelier One and Atelier Ten on the design of the project, which features eighteen of the tree-like towers and two "cooled conservatories" containing Mediterranean and tropical plants.

Gardens by the Bay

As a British architect Wilkinson discusses Kew Gardens in London, which was constructed in the Victorian era to bring tropical gardens to a colder climate, and he describes how the "flower-dome" does the opposite, by housing Mediterranean plants within the tropical climate of Singapore.

Gardens by the Bay

"What I find interesting is the experiment of changing the climate but doing it in an economical way in terms of energy," he says, and explains that a biomass boiler powered by clippings from plants all over Singapore generates most of the energy needed to control the temperatures inside the conservatories.

Gardens by the Bay

Visitors can walk around the gardens using bridges raised 20 metres above the ground, which lead to a cafe on the top of the tallest  tower. "I don't think its fair to call it a theme park, but it's designed to attract people of all ages and all nationalities as a leisure facility," says Wilkinson.

Gardens by the Bay

You can see more images of the project in our earlier story, or watch another movie we filmed with Wilkinson Eyre's Paul Baker just after the World Building of the Year Award was announced.

See all our coverage of the World Architecture Festival »
See more stories about Wilkinson Eyre Architects »

Photography is by Craig Sheppard.

  • Nouf .A

    I thought that this building will suffer from excessive heat, but later I noticed the structural elements. This building will not be exposed to the sun directly because the structural elements draw shadows on the glass to make it partially shaded. When structural system is designed we come up with such a unique shape.

  • Smith

    No it is hit by the sun, a lot. A greenhouse in the tropics, just daft! It uses a lot of energy and has the feeling of an airport or shopping mall rather than a winter garden upon which it is based. A terrible use of the word sustainable.Theme park or fashion statement at great environmental cost is what I would call it.

    The avatar steel trees are also odd. If you want trees plant trees the tropics have such a fabulous range of exciting species so why not create a real garden of diversity. Still the mangroves that they destroyed to make this “eco bling” park are, oh wait, yes they were destroyed in the process. There was an article in the Singapore Architect Journal which questioned this area under the idea of deep ecology along with the rest of the marina bay development.

    • Kan

      Actually, the whole land on which it sits is reclaimed land. So yes, it was a vast water body in the past. So I fail to see how mangroves and greenery were destroyed in the process.

      The real damage will be on the marine ecosystem where the land was reclaimed. But that will be another topic, and also not forgetting Singapore is really small.