Singapore's Supertree-Powered Gardens By the Bay Opens to Public (Photos)

© Craig Sheppard / Grant Associates. The new Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

One of the largest horticultural attractions in the world, Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, opens to the public Friday, June 29, offering a unique fusion of nature and technology.

Since we last reported on the project's most distinctive element -- 18 giant solar-powered, plant-growing "Supertrees" -- UK-based landscape architects Grant Associates have released some stunning photos of the £500 million complex.

© Craig Sheppard / Grant Associates. One of the project's two 'cooled conservatories.'

Built on reclaimed waterfront land, the 101-hectacre gardens comprise three separate landscapes and includes two massive (but energy-efficient) biomes designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects that contain tens of thousands of Mediterranean and tropical plants. Both "cooled conservatories" run on energy generated by the Supertrees and capture and filter runoff water.

© Craig Sheppard / Grant Associates. An aerial view of the garden complex.

In addition, a collection of four heritage gardens "explores the rich cultural significance of different plant species, including their symbolism, religious significance, trade, food, and medicinal uses." And those are just a few of the highlights.

"The design -- which originally won in an international competition -- is set to become an integral part of the government's strategy to integrate natural and built environments," designboom wrote last spring while documenting the gardens' construction.

© Robert Such / Grant Associates. An elevated walkway through the 'Supertrees.'

The futuristic look of the Gardens by the Bay has prompted some grumbling among online commenters who say they prefer their outdoor spaces natural and wild, but a bit of artificiality is part of the plan. According to a recent CNN report, project organizers hope that the space "will become an eco-tourist destination showcasing sustainable practices and plants from across the globe."

Tags: Cities | Singapore | Urban Planning

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