Public Singapore Gardens
Flanagan Lawrence, in collaboration with landscape architects Gustafson Porter, has designed a sequence of subtle architectural elements that echo the sinuous contours of the overall masterplan for The Gardens at Marina East – a strategic development to present Singapore as a ‘City within a Garden’. Kathryn Gustafson’s vision was that her practice would ‘design everything the sky sees,’ and the ‘buildings’ would be tucked into structures within the created landforms.
The tropical garden setting is particular to Singapore, but the themes are universal. Visitors are invited to explore the relationship between the plant world and the physical world – the way we engage with the natural world is celebrated in the individual garden ‘leaves’. Aquatic gardens treat water, which is then re-used in the buildings and for the irrigation of plants, while food grown in the gardens can be consumed in the restaurants. Fruits and spices become ingredients for exotic drinks in the bars, and educational displays offer food for thought and teach children about the natural world.
The physical experience of being outdoors in a moist, humid climate is balanced with the need for comfort and convenience. The design of the park encourages visitors to interact with nature and to spend time outdoors. There are opportunities for sporting activities such as boating, swimming, cycling and running – meanwhile the restaurants, cafés and bars offer both indoor and outdoor spaces. The buildings Flanagan Lawrence have designed are distributed throughout the site but are primarily located around the Inlets. Ranging from simple café/bar units to a signature restaurant in a prominent location within the gardens, most are integrated into the leaf forms, which serve as the focus of visitor activities, and hence provide high footfall.
The Visitor Centre is located at the entrance to the Gardens. Featuring a curved cantilevered roof, it provides information, a café, gift and book shops, WCs, administration offices, an educational suite and the Boat House. Two ‘wings’ facilitate natural ventilation, and enclose a courtyard garden displaying changing arrangements of tropical plants. From here a staircase and lift lead visitors to the rooftop, providing distant views over the Bay to Marina South, the Singapore Flyer and the city centre. The terrace also serves as an external area for parties and events. A curved timber soffit provides a large shaded terrace for the ground level café. The façades consist of a mix of transparent, translucent, opaque and louvred horizontal panels, responding to the demands of the spaces they enclose.
The single-storey Boat House is designed to house racing shells including international standard ‘Eights’. The central space is the storage and workshop area for the shells and blades, and arranged on the north, south and western sides are the facilities for the rowing crews and staff. Changing and training facilities are provided as well as a café/retail area. This facility can be used as the ‘host’ location for large scale events at Marina East. The roof is accessible, serving as an athletes’ viewing area. The area immediately in front of the Boat House facing the Marina provides space for the washing down and rigging of ‘Eights’.
Client National Parks Board
Location Singapore, Asia
Status Stage C
Project Manager Confluence pcm
Client Project Manager PM Link
Landscape Architect Gustafson Porter