Gardens by the Bay, Cloud Forest Conservatory's Cloud Mountain
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Cloud Mountain, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay. Photo courtesy of Tropical Environment Pte Ltd.Project Name: Gardens by the Bay, Cloud Forest Conservatory's Cloud Mountain
Year: 2012
Owner: Gardens by the Bay
Location: Singapore, Singapore
Building Type: Park
Type: Living Wall
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 43056 sq.ft.
Slope: 85%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public
Submitted by: Tropical Environment Pte Ltd & Greenroofs.com

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Bay South Garden Masterplan, Lead Design & Landscape Architect: Grant Associates
Cooled Conservatories Architect: Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Structural Engineer: Atelier One
Environmental Specialist: Atelier Ten
Mountain Skin/Green Wall: Organic Wall System, Tropical Environment Pte Ltd
Mountain Skin/Green Wall Design/Build: Tropical Environment Pte Ltd
Irrigation and Plant Installation: Tropical Environment
Conservatory Glass Panel Facade Engineering: ARUP
The waterfall on Cloud Mountain. Photo Source: Gardens by the BayLEGOs Pitcher Plants mixed in with the real ones. Photo by Linda S. Velazquez, November 2015.On the Cloud Walk. Photo by Linda S. Velazquez, November 2015.
Gardens by the Bay brings to life the National Parks Board Singapore's vision of creating a City in a Garden. The 101-hectare Gardens capture the essence of Singapore as the premier tropical Garden City with the perfect environment in which to live and work - making Singapore a leading global city of the 21st century. The project has been acclaimed worldwide for its remarkable blend of nature, technology, environmental management and imagination and is a showcase of horticulture and garden artistry that brings the world of plants to Singapore and presents Singapore to the World.

Consisting of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden, and Bay Central Garden, Bay South Garden is the largest at 54 hectares or 130 acres. Designed by Grant Associates as masterplanners of the award-winning Bay South Garden, the masterplan's overall concept draws inspiration from an orchid. The orchid takes root at the waterfront (conservatories), while the leaves (landforms), shoots (paths, roads and linkways) and secondary roots (water, energy and communication lines) then form an integrated network with blooms (theme gardens and Supertrees) at key intersections.

Underlying the concept of Gardens by the Bay are the principles of environmental sustainability. Much effort was made to plan and design for sustainable cycles in energy and water throughout Bay South Garden. Gardens by the Bay broke ground in November 2007 and was opened to the public in June, 2012.

Highlights of Bay South Garden include 18 Supertrees of different sizes ranging from 25-50 metre vertical gardens that light up at night; two giant Cooled Conservatories (designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects), housing Mediterranean and Tropical climate plants; and a rich variety of Horticultural Gardens, designed around the themes 'Plants and People' and 'Plants and Planet.'

Located along the edge of Marina Reservoir offering breathtaking views of Marina Bay, the two cooled conservatories at the conservatory complex in the Bay South Garden are the Flower Dome (cool dry) and the Cloud Forest (cool moist). Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the conservatories are home to over 250,000 species of plants. Intended to be an energy efficient showcase of sustainable building technologies, they also provide an all-weather educational and entertainment space. The two giant columnless glasshouses minimize the environmental footprint: rainwater is collected from the surface and circulated in the cooling system which is connected to the Supertrees which then vent the hot air and also cool circulated water.

"The two main conservatory structures are among the largest climate-controlled glasshouses in the world, covering an area in excess of 20,000m˛, and showcase the flora of those environments most likely to be affected by climate change: in the Flower Dome, the cool-dry Mediterranean zone; and in the Cloud Forest, the cool-wet tropical montane.

"The challenge of creating these conservatory environments under glass was a fundamental driver of the design, which was brought about through a uniquely collaborative relationship between WilkinsonEyre and the other members of the multidisciplinary team: masterplanner Grant Associates, structural engineer, Atelier One and environmental specialists Atelier Ten. Each conservatory has a composite structure composed of a gridshell, which works in tandem with an external superstructure of radially arranged, arched steel ribs," (Wilkinson Eyre Architects).

Higher than the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest is slightly smaller at 0.8 hectares (2.0 acres) where humidity is 80% – 90% and the temperature ranges from 23°C – 25°C. It is a gigantic biodome showcasing nine unique zones that recreates the environment and climate of a 7-story high mountaintop forest, replicating the cool moist conditions found in tropical highland regions between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) above sea level, found in South-East Asia, Middle- and South America. The Cloud Mountain in the Cloud Forest allows the opportunity to discover the unique biodiversity and geology of cloud forests, and serves as one of the key highlights of Singapore's leading horticulture-themed destination.
Photo courtesy of Tropical Environment Pte Ltd.Close-up of bromeliads, begonias, and ferns. Photo by Linda S. Velazquez, November 2015.
All the levels offer different horticultural experience: At the entrance visitors receive a cool blast of air, and see the world's tallest indoor waterfall, pouring down water and mist from 35 m (115 ft) above. Take the lift to the Lost World (the top of the mountaintop) to discover the unique biodiversity and geology of cloud forests, and then stroll along a walkway in the clouds for an aerial view of the canopy and mountainside below. Descend through the 122-metre long Cloud Walk and Treetop Walk, and half way down at Level 4, the Crystal Mountain Cave features a variety of stalactites, stalagmites and hollowed-out crystals. At the ground level, the stimulating and intriguing Secret Garden and Foothills overflow with luscious foliage, where art is intermixed within the ponds and plantings. Before exiting, enter Earth Check and see the +5 Degrees video, showing the effect that a 5° C or 9° F increase in temperature is expected to have on similar mountain-top environments due to climate change.

"The Cool Moist Conservatory seeks to capture and display the essential elements of a cloud forest environment in an abstract rather than literal way. The emphasis is on the impression of height, the creation of a cloudy, cool and moist atmosphere. At its heart is a 45m high abstract mountain structure, creating a sense of luminous green dripping vegetation with exquisite flowers and foliage.

"The Mountain houses internal exhibitions, gardens, event spaces, a vertical circulation core, and supports 2 aerial walkways. The mountain also supports the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, composed of 10 individual spouts at different heights to control the flow and optimise the effect whilst minimises the acoustic impact. Inspired by the maiden hair fungus, the mountain structure forms a lattice that wraps around the internal core and staggered floor plates. The concrete structure is covered in an epiphytic coat of plants that showcase plant life from the tropical cloud forest 1,000 to 3,500 meters above sea level," (Grant Associates).

Developed with a proprietary Organic Wall System from Tropical Environment Pte Ltd to simulate a ‘living skin’ of a natural mountain, this 42 metre high world-renowned mountain at Gardens by the Bay's Cloud Forest Conservatory presents a phenomenal collection of plants imported from various parts of the world - boasting numerous accolades and attracting millions of visitors every year. The estimated slope of Cloud Mountain is between 70-85% and is estimated to cover 4,000 square metres in vegetated surface area.

Special stringent tests were carried out on the mountain render two and a half years prior to its installation to establish its ability to support various plant life and its physical resilience to wear and tear. The criteria for the mountain skin entailed the construction of a structurally strong and sound green wall which would last for last for years to come without falling apart, with strong design considerations given to the implications of its constantly moist conditions. Guarantee and warrantee of the proprietary system was provided to the client.

Densely planted with epiphytic plants, the mountain render sustains numerous species and varieties of orchids, ferns, bromeliads, begonias, anthuriums and pitcher plants that flourish in a resplendent display of majestic beauty.

With components spray applied via high pressure equipment, the mountain render forms a continuous layer that covers the entire outer surface of the concrete mountain lattice, as well as its inner roof surface, inner elevations and inside edges of all apertures. It is secured to the mountain lattice using a multi-component corrosion-resistant bonding layer, and is inclusive of comprehensive automated drip irrigation and drainage mechanisms. Its porous organic composition provides moisture retention and rooting zones for the epiphytes, with built-in pockets allowing planting zones for larger specimens. Tropical Environment Pte Ltd was responsible for the design and build of the mountain skin/green wall; construction of the irrigation system of the green wall; fixing of non-biodegradable securing devices; and plant installation.

Some of Gardens by the Bay awards include:
SIA-NParks Skyrise Greenery Award 2013 (First Prize);
LIAS Award of Excellence 2013 (Gold), Category - Implementation Projects;
LIAS Award of Excellence 2013 (Gold & Best in Category), Category - Greenwall.
In 2013 the cooled conservatories received the prestigious RIBA Lubetkin Prize and in 2012 they were named World Building of the Year.

Referring to WilkinsonEyre, RIBA said 'Here they have produced greenhouses covering two hectares that are carbon-positive. What's more they have pushed the boundaries not only environmentally but also structurally, giving the city a new and public landmark.'

See the Project Profile for the Gardens by the Bay, Far East Organization Children’s Garden in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Additional thumbnail photos:

On the Cloud Walk on Cloud Mountain, Gardens by the Bay. Photo courtesy of Tropical Environment Pte Ltd.A view of the Cloud Mountain with the Far East Children's Garden in the foreground and the Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer in the background. Photo Source: Gardens by the Bay.The waterfall; Photo by Linda S. Velazquez, November 2015.Cloud Mountain illuminated. Photo Source: Gardens by the BayCloud Mountain, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay. Photo courtesy of Tropical Environment Pte Ltd.
Gardens by the Bay is located at 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953; +65 6420 6848; visit their website and Cloud Forest page. Watch the 2:55 Gardens by the Bay, Cloud Forest Conservatory's Cloud Mountain - Project of the Week 5/02/16 video from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Greenroofs.com Project of the Week video photo credits: All courtesy of Tropical Environment, Gardens by the Bay, Linda S. Velazquez, and Grant Associates except for Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore - 20120617-05.jpg by Allie Caulfield Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic from Wikimedia Commons.

See the project profiles from
Wilkinson Eyre Architects; Grant Associates, Wikipedia, ARUP; Atelier One; Atelier Ten; and Solaripedia. See more photos from Tropical Environment and a fantastic 360° view from THETA360.com. Read the January 21, 2014 Wilkinson Eyre's cooled conservatories at Gardens by the Bay are "about having fun" by Ben Hobson in dezeen and the July 17, 2012 Gardens by the Bay / Grant Associates by Grant Associates in ArchDaily.

For more information about the Cloud Mountain, Gardens by the Bay, please visit http://www.tropicalenvironment.com.sg/home.html.
 
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