Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore Wins World Building of the Year at World Architecture Festival Awards 2012

Largest climate-controlled glasshouses in the world help transform Singapore into a ‘City in a Garden’ Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, has won the World Building of the Year Award at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards 2012. The project was designed by Wilkinson Eyre, Grant Associates, Atelier One and Atelier Ten.

Chosen from over 500 entries on display at this year’s festival, the event was the most well attended since it began in 2008, with over 2000 architects and designers present.

The judging of the WAF Awards took place during the largest global celebration of architecture – the World Architecture Festival, which was held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore this week.

Located in Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay is a key project in delivering the Singapore Government’s vision of transforming Singapore into a ‘City in a Garden’. At a total of 101 hectares, the Gardens by the Bay project comprises three distinct waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central. Sitting in the heart of Bay South Garden, the Cooled Conservatory Complex provides a spectacular, all-weather attraction, comprising a 1.28 hectare cool dry conservatory (the ‘Flower Dome’) and a 0.73 hectare cool moist conservatory (the ‘Cloud Forest’). Each has its own distinct character, but both explore the horticulture of those environments most likely to be affected by climate change.

Both conservatories have a dual system structure of gridshell and arches to permit as much light as possible through to the planted displays within. The gridshell portion is very fragile and is designed to only support its own weight and the weight of the glass. Wind loads are resisted by the arches that are set away from the surface of the envelope and arranged radially in line with the geometry of the gridshell. The commission to design the 54 hectare Bay South garden was won in 2006 by a team led by Grant Associates, including Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Atelier One, Atelier Ten, Land Design and Davis Langdon and Seah. Wilkinson Eyre Architects developed the Cooled Conservatories.

This display project was selected to win by the festival’s super-jury, having first coming out on top from a shortlist of 9 entries in the “World’s Best Display” Award, Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay then went on to claim the World Building of the Year.

Speaking on behalf of the festival’s super-jury Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said: “This project was a fine and deserved winner, especially as it was an immensely collaborative effort. It features a series of radical and technical examinations, comprising some truly experimental aspects and lines of enquiry that will be immensely useful to the profession.”

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