Biomimicry Takes Root in Singapore

When we speak of nature we think of life, innate and warm. Technology, on the other hand, is mechanical, hard and cold.These key subjects of our every day life seem to always be opposing forces. With an increase in technology, we see a decline in a healthy, flourishing environment. However, with the rising demand for conservation we face a stalemate because the exponential growth of the industrial market is hindered. The landscape architects at UK based Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre have uprooted that presupposition with their 101 hetacre horticultural creation “Gardens by the Bay” in Singapore.

This amazing garden is composed of 18 colossal, solar powered “supertree” structures that harbor several exotic plants as well as two energy efficient biomes. The supertrees were designed with primarily the same principles that allow for the success of natural trees. They use a system  of collection and absorption for water distribution, eliminating the need to water regularly. They also used a system for dispersing heat trapped at the top of the structure to various temperature controlled areas. The trees are even given the engenius shape of a tree with long, spindling branches that reach upward toward the sun. On top of these branches, photovoltaic solar cells collect massive amounts of energy, which allows it to sustain the rest of the supertree systems. The branches are spread out allowing for maximum surface area for the solar panels. Various tropical flowers and plant life are embedded into the actual structure as well which maximizes the amount of foliage as well as giving the supertrees a more natural, living look. The overall design of the structures are very effective as they maximize on every inch of space they have, as well as merging a natural concept with a futuristic look that matches the city scape around it. It also has pathways both on the ground as well as up above connecting the trees for the foot traffic of this tourist spectacle. The design is not perfect however. It is a monstrous metal tree that can, to some, take from the beauty of the plant life around it. They are also very bulky at the core of the trunk to house its maintenance systems and generators. This obstructs one’s view of the Bay and garden behind it. Many also debate the viability of solar energy in a country like Singapore. Many critics believe that solar cannot generate enough energy to maintain the enormous needs of the plants on the supertrees and biomes.  It is also quite a hefty sum to pay, costing around £ 500 million not including maintenance costs. Nonetheless, these supertrees have created harmony between the living and the artificial, a spectacle that is sure boost tourism in Singapore.



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