The landscape architect behind Singapore’s iconic Supertrees and the current Tower of London Superbloom display is calling for more city spaces to be turned over to nature in order to boost biodiversity, tourism and wellbeing.
As globally-recognised tourist attraction Gardens by the Bay celebrates its 10th anniversary this week in Singapore, Andrew Grant RDI, founder of pioneering landscape architecture practice Grant Associates and lead designer on the world-renowned project, believes that it is more important than ever before for biodiversity-rich green spaces to be intentionally cultivated in order to combat the climate emergency:
“Gardens by the Bay demonstrates the possibility of using landscapes, plants and nature to create powerful places where people can come together and be inspired. The whole project’s approach to integrated planning and design serves to signify Singapore as the City in a Garden; Gardens by the Bay is the perfect fusion of nature, technology and art and its legacy and impact is sizeable ten years on. Its success shows how, as landscape architects, we can positively influence and transform cityscapes into areas that add more value to people and planet, supporting human wellbeing and fuelling urban biodiversity.” – Andrew Grant RDI, founder and director, Grant Associates
Andrew was the lead designer on the project, and was subsequently awarded the title of RDI Royal Designer for Industry in recognition of his global work. Now a founding member of the UK Landscape Architects Declare, a movement for landscape architects around the world to act in response to the climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse, his environmentally-focused work has now extended into the Tower of London Superbloom project, the biggest transformation to the Tower of London’s historic moat in 150 years.
One of the largest garden projects in the world, the Bay South Garden masterplan took inspiration from Singapore’s national flower, the orchid, expressing the beauty of these flowers through the exotic gardens and the physiology of the orchid through the sophisticated infrastructure for managing energy, water and waste.
The nature-focused attraction has won numerous coveted awards since opening, including being named ‘Best Large Scale Public Development’ by the Landscape Institute Awards, the RIBA Lubetkin Prize for ‘Best New International Building’ and ‘Building Project of the Year’ at the 2012 World Architecture Festival. Incorporating cutting edge environmental design and sustainable development principles, Gardens by the Bay is an integral part of Singapore’s ‘City in a Garden‘ biodiversity model.
Since opening in 2012, more than 50 million visits have been made to Gardens by the Bay, with close to 6.6 million visitors in 2020 alone as the attraction continued to provide horticultural inspiration and valuable access to green spaces throughout the pandemic. The world-recognised landscape attraction has featured in numerous films and television series since opening, including being profiled on the BBC’s Planet Earth II documentary series with Sir David Attenborough where it was described as “perhaps the most spectacular example of city greening.”
Alongside lead designers Grant Associates, the British design team for Bay South comprised of Wilkinson Eyre (architects); Atelier Ten (environmental design consultants); Atelier One (structural engineers); Land Design Studio (museum and visitor center designers) and Thomas Matthews (communication designers). Founded in 1997, Grant Associates celebrates 25 years of delivering environmentally-focused landscape projects internationally this year.