Singapore’s Marina South Gardens and the SuperTrees
Thursday July 07th 2011, 1:41 am
Filed under: Competition,Energy,Living Wall,Public,Water

Following an international design competition for Singapore’s Marina South Gardens back in 2006, a team lead by UK-based Grant Associates was selected to design the masterplan. And now, with the massive construction of Singapore’s largest garden project is well underway.

Below are the conceptual sketch and the illustrative masterplan from the original competition followed by an illustrative section in the area of the SuperTrees. Some text from Grant Associates explains,

The masterplan takes its inspiration from the form of the orchid, and has an intelligent infrastructure that allows the cultivation of plants that would not otherwise grow in Singapore. The centrepiece of this infrastructure is the cluster of Cooled Conservatories along the edge of Marina Bay.

The dual theme of Marina South is ‘Plants and People’ and ‘Plants and Planet’. Each narrative encompasses the length of the gardens, with the Conservatories providing the focus and main educational message.

The Cool Dry and the Cool Moist Conservatories showcase Mediterranean, tropical montane and temperate annual plants and flowering species. They also provide a flexible, flower-themed venue for events and exhibitions.

The Supertrees…are an iconic landmark for the Gardens and Singapore. They are also the environmental engines for the Conservatories and Energy Centre, containing solar hot water and photovoltaic collectors, rainwater harvesting devices and venting ducts.

The photograph above, which was shot just recently on June 29th, shows the massive tree-like structures called the “SuperTrees” in the midst of construction. Although these concrete structures aren’t trees so much as they are massive vertical gardens built as large sculptural elements that will house hundreds of species and varieties of plants. There will be a total of 18 of these vertical super structures with heights ranging from 82 to 164 feet when construction is complete.

The scale of the concrete “trees” next to the human figures is what makes this image truly amazing and quite surreal. It’s hard to believe that this is an actual construction shot and not just another crazy illustrative rendering.

Besides providing the people with a massive botanical park and vegetated shade in the dense urban setting during the day, the grove is supposed to “come alive with lighting and projected media” for a nighttime display.

images via Grant Associates , Vesper Hsieh, National Geographic, Plataforma Arquitectura

Four Visions for a Riverfront
Wednesday January 26th 2011, 8:05 am
Filed under: Competition

Mpls Riverfront Design Competition

Have some free time tomorrow night and wondering what to do with your evening? Well look no further! This Thursday an exciting event will take place in Minneapolis where the four design team finalists for the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition will show off their designs to the jury, the public (tickets for the event sold out) and those that can’t be in the audience will watch through the Walker Art Center’s webcast at 5pm pst / 7pm cst. The four exciting teams who will be presenting are:

Ken Smith Workshop | New York City
Stoss Landscape Urbanism | Boston
Tom Leader Studio | Berkeley
Turenscape | Beijing

And for full disclosure, I’m actually on the Turenscape Team hence the reason I haven’t blogged about this sooner since I generally like to keep personal and professional separate and why I’ll keep this short and leave out any opinions on the design teams or the outcome. However, if wasn’t on one of the teams I would’ve posted this event anyway because it’s going to be a good one so be sure to check it out. If you can’t make it for the live webcast, recordings of the presentation will be available as well.

September 11 Memorial – Under Construction
Saturday September 11th 2010, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Competition,Parks,Public,Water


In exactly one year, on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2001, the World Trade Center Memorial at ground zero will open to the public. The accompanying museum building will open in 2012. The elegant design from Snohetta, winner out of 5,000 entries in the 2004 design competition, created a 16 acre plaza where two fountains represent the original locations of the twin towers.

A colleague in New York City, Socorro Alatorre, had an opportunity to tour the construction site on July 30th and sent me some of her photographs. The first shows the north pool with a square shape that represents the footprint of the north tower. Water will cascade over the edges and drop 27 feet into a pool at the bottom and then fall again through a small square opening in the bottom. From the top at plaza level, the viewer will be unable to see the bottom of the cascade so there is the impression that it falls for eternity.

WTC Memorial Construction - North Pool

WTC Memorial Construction - North Pool

In the images above, some of the edging material to the pool has already been installed. Below shows a detail of a piece yet to be installed. The grooves in the material will allow the water to cascade of the edges and flow smoothly in a sheet down the face of the wall.

WTC Memorial Construction - pool edge detail

WTC Memorial Construction - edge detail side

Below are images of the granite cladding on the walls of the main pools although I’m unsure of the specific type of granite. She said it looked black with a hint of green. The images also provide a good idea of the scale.

WTC Memorial Construction - granite wall

WTC Memorial Construction - granite wall

WTC Memorial Construction - granite walls

Below is an image of part of the mechical room with some of the pumps for the north pool only. The mechinal room / pumps are located all around the water features except for on the south pool one side of it is shared with the subway/path terminal so the layout of the pumps are a bit different for the south pool.

WTC Memorial Construction - mechanical room

The image below shows the subway/path terminal, or at least the rails with the precast beams being constructed.

WTC Memorial Construction - subway/path terminal

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years alread and that in only one year the memorial will be complete and open to the public. It will be an amazingly stunning site that will likely leave few with a dry eye.

WTC Memorial rendering at night
construction images via Socorro Alatorra, renderings via Snohetta