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Gardens by the Bay

with Grant Associates and Wilkinson Eyre

This distinctive waterfront gardens in the heart of Marina Bay defines Singapore as the world’s premier tropical garden city. The gardens are a national and international exemplar of sustainable practice.

Atelier Ten provided mechanical and electrical engineering design to completion and masterplan sustainability consultancy. The main gardens include two biomes representing the cool dry conditions of the Mediterranean springtime and the cool moist conditions of tropical mountain regions.

We developed innovative strategies for controlling these conditions within the naturally humid environment of Singapore while minimising energy demand to exemplar levels. External supertree structures coupled with liquid desiccant systems provide cool air to the biomes.

A key early ambition was to somehow use the solar energy entering the domes as a part of the ‘virtuous’ energy cycle. The displacement conditioning arrangement causes the air at the top of the biomes to be significantly warmer than the design temperature at low level, particularly in periods of high solar gain. Air is extracted from the top of the Flower Dome and is returned through an underground tunnel to the adjacent Silver Supertree cluster where it becomes the supply air for the desiccant regenerator equipment. The temperature and dryness of this extracted air increases the efficiency of the system and effectively means that there is an indirect solar energy component to the regeneration process.

The Supertrees house photovoltaic panels that generate enough annual power to light the Supertrees. Waste generated by Singapore’s National Parks is diverted from landfill and used as a source of biomass to generate energy for use throughout the gardens.

As part of the masterplan development and implementation process, we developed and utilised a range of sustainability implementation plans for the development tailored to the different teams delivering the various parts of the project. These covered all areas of environmental sustainability potentially affected by the development, and aimed to weave holistic ideas of sustainability into the project. Singapore’s Building & Construction Authority Green Mark scheme awarded the conservatories a Platinum rating. In the first three months of use the conservatories have run completely on a net zero carbon fuel-stock and have used no external energy for their conditioning.