Part of Singapore’s impressive and admirable effort to make their city greener includes a mechanical forest that looks about as organic as Keith Richard’s guitar. However, the 18 steel “supertrees” are greener than they may seem. They serve as 25-50 meter-high vertical gardens (with actual plants hanging on them), venting ducts for nearby conservatories, rainwater collectors and even solar electricity generators that provide lighting for the surrounding area. The indoor cloud forest and flower dome gardens cost $28 to enter, but visitors can also access the “skywalk” bridges strung up between several of the supertrees for just $5.
Less than two months after opening, Gardens by the Bay had already attracted a million visitors, picked up international press coverage and won the “World Building of the Year” at the 2012 World Architecture Festival. Now a year old, it is the city’s eighth highest-rated attraction on TripAdvisor with the 2nd most positive comments. (The master plan was conceived by two architectural firms: Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter. The budget for the project was $1 billion, with an annual operating budget of $58 million.)