The Supertrees were conceived as a fusion of nature, art and technology and, as such, are emblematic of the master plan approach. They are at one level spectacular vertical gardens and landmark features, at another they are the environmental engines for the Cooled Conservatories and energy centre incorporating devices for energy harvesting, cooling and exhaust.
To create a sense of depth to the composition 6 height ranges (25 to 50m) were generated to best place the structures within the gardens. Twelve of the Supertrees and walkway are in the Supertree Grove with two clusters of three by the Arrivals Square and Dragonfly Lake. Two of the Supertrees are connected by a 128m long 22m high aerial walkway suspended above ground. The 50m Supertree has a bar offering panoramic views of Marina Bay.
Working with structural engineers Atelier One, the Supertrees were developed to deliver a visually and structurally complex design, comprising 5 major components: canopy skin, trunk skin, core, planting and aerial walkway. Running vertically through the centre of each Supertree is a concrete column designed to carry the Supertree lattice or ‘skin’. The core is in turn capped with a ‘head’ to conceal a range of M&E equipment. The skin is separated into two sections; each defined by a series of branching members. The lightweight canopy skin employs a conic form to give strength and provide shade whilst the trunk skin flares towards the ground giving the appearance of rootedness. The canopies and core heads were assembled at ground level and hoisted by a hydraulic jack into place. The trunk skin was formed into bays and lifted into position by crane.
The planting panels are hung from the Supertree skins and then planted to create a colourful, species rich living skin. The aerial walkway is suspended from cables connected to the canopy skins of 5 of the perimeter Supertrees.
During the day the Supertree canopies provide shade, at night the Supertrees awaken with lighting and music that activate the Supertree Grove. Given the relatively short time span to create a garden from reclaimed land, the Supertrees provide a visual counter point to the cooled conservatories within the Gardens.