Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (2024)

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (1)

Side view of Park Royal on Pickering Hotel, Photo by Oleksii Fadieiev

Imagine a cityscape where towering buildings don't block out the sky, but instead, seamlessly integrate with lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, natural light, and vibrant ecosystems teeming with life. This is the essence of biophilic design – a philosophy that promotes the reconnection between humanity and nature, not just aesthetically but for our well-being.

Studies have shown that incorporating elements of nature into our built environments can yield a multitude of well-being benefits. Here at IRk Living, we share your passion for wellness, and that's why we believe you'll appreciate these positive outcomes:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

  • Improved cognitive function and creativity

  • Increased productivity and focus

  • Enhanced air quality and thermal comfort

  • Boosted feelings of well-being and happiness

Biophilic design pioneer, Edward O. Wilson, famously stated: “The human spirit needs contact with the natural world.” By embracing these principles in our cities, we can create spaces that not only function well but also nurture our inherent connection to the natural world.

With roots dating back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, is the design genre is experiencing a resurgence. Today's science-backed understanding of nature's benefits on well-being fuels this renewed interest. The best part is that the design philosophy goes beyond aesthetics, emphasizing our connection with nature by incorporating natural features into buildings to create healthier and more livable cities.

Street in Singapore, Photo by Smeilov

A prime example of this philosophy in action is Singapore, a city-state at the forefront of this design. Here, innovative projects like Gardens by the Bay are transforming the urban landscape. This awe-inspiring park isn't just a beautiful garden; it's evidence to Singapore's commitment to creating healthy, sustainable, and nature-connected spaces where residents and visitors can thrive.

Join IRK as we delve into the fascinating world of biophilic design and explore how Gardens by the Bay is revolutionizing the way we experience nature in a city.

Singapore's Embrace of Biophilic Design

Singapore's has made major strides over the last few decades, putting biophilic urban landscape at the forefront. Look up, and you'll see skyscrapers adorned with vertical gardens, and waterfalls nestled indoors. These living spaces not only add a touch of beauty to the cityscape but also improve air quality and help regulate building temperatures.

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (3)

Street view of Park Royal on Pickering Hotel, Photo by Oleksii Fadieiev

Pedestrian walkways are no longer just concrete paths; they've transformed into verdant connectors, offering a refreshing escape from the bustling streets below. The Southern Ridgeline Walk, for example, is a 10km trail that winds through greenery, providing residents with a chance to reconnect with nature amidst the urban sprawl.

Biophilic design also extends to Singapore's hospitality industry. The Oasis Downtown Hotel exemplifies this approach. Boasting a staggering 11:1 green plot ratio, it offers guests an immersive experience amidst a verdant oasis.This translates to a staggering amount of greenery – the equivalent of 11 times the space of an empty plot surrounding the hotel!

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (4)

Oasis Downtown Hotel, Photo Courtesy of Oasis Downtown Hotel Gallery

Similarly, the Park Royal on Pickering Hotel showcases the power of vertical gardens. Large plots of greenery wrap the exterior walls, creating a stunning and ecologically beneficial environment. Enhancing the aesthetic appeal for guests but also attracting a diverse range of urban wildlife, fostering a miniature urban ecosystem.

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (5)

Park Royal on Pickering Hotel, Photo Courtesy of Park Royal Gallery

Outside of hospitality, one of the most iconic examples of biophilic design in Singapore is Gardens by the Bay. This sprawling park is a futuristic spectacle of nature and technology, showcasing innovative ways to integrate greenery into an urban setting.

Gardens by the Bay: A Paradise in the City

Gardens by the Bay is a masterpiece of biophilic design, transforming 101 hectares of reclaimed land into a vibrant tapestry of gardens, conservatories, and the awe-inspiring Supertrees. These colossal vertical structures, reaching up to 50 meters tall, are not just architectural marvels but also serve as vertical gardens, adorned with over 150,000 plants.

Instead of simply rows of flowers, Gardens by the Bay offers an immersive and educational journey, showcasing a stunning array of plants not typically found in Singapore's climate.

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (6)

Ariel view of Gardens by the Bay, Photo by Oleksandr Dibrova

The park boasts three distinct waterfront gardens – the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and the Supertree Grove. Each dome offers a unique climate-controlled environment, showcasing diverse flora from around the world. Visitors can stroll through a Mediterranean-inspired Flower Field in the Flower Dome, explore the orchid-filled Cloud Forest mimicking a mountain ecosystem, or marvel at the illuminated Supertrees as they come alive with a light and sound show at night.

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (7)

The Cloud Forest, Photo by Netfalls

The Gardens by the Bay experience extends beyond stunning flora. They're also a leader in sustainable practices, making them a model for responsible development in urban environments. The park seamlessly integrates eco-friendly features, allowing visitors to appreciate nature while knowing the surrounding structures contribute to a greener future.

For instance, the iconic Supertree Grove isn't just a visual presentation – it's a sustainability champion. Embedded with photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy to power their nighttime light displays, they are consciously recycling the energy they create. Additionally, the park employs a rainwater harvesting system, promoting responsible water management and reducing reliance on city resources.

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Night view of the Supertrees, Photo by martinhosmat083

A visit to Gardens by the Bay offers not only an immersive experience in the plant kingdom but also a chance to witness innovative techniques for environmental sustainability!

A Sustainable Future

Gardens by the Bay exemplifies the power of biophilic design. By seamlessly integrating nature into a built environment, the park creates a space that is aesthetically pleasing and promotes sustainable practices.

Singapore's embrace of biophilic design sets a precedent for other cities seeking innovative solutions to create healthier, more sustainable, and nature-connected urban landscapes for the future.

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (9)

Jewel Changi Airport, Photo by Maria

Nature in the Concrete Jungle: Biophilic Design & Singapore's Gardens by the Bay (2024)


What is nature in the space biophilic design? ›

Nature in The Space

This refers to adding natural elements into the built environment. This is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to introduce Biophilia to the workplace or living space and gives people instant access to all the feelgood associations of biophilia.

What are the biophilic projects in Singapore? ›

Biophilic principles are also exemplified by several other prominent buildings, including (but not limited to) the hotel Parkroyal at Pickering, Oasia Hotel Downtown, and the mixed-use development Marina One, all of which are structural oases filled with gardens and terraces.

What are the three elements of biophilic design? ›

Biophilic design can be organized into three categories – Nature in the Space, Natural Analogues, and Nature of the Space – providing a framework for understanding and enabling thoughtful incorporation of a rich diversity of strategies into the built environment.

What is biophilic style? ›

Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions.

What is the point of biophilic design? ›

Biophilic design is an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature. Biophilic designed buildings incorporate things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements for creating a more productive and healthy built environment for people.

What is the aim of biophilic design? ›

Biophilic Design is a human centred approach aimed at improving our connection to nature and natural processes in the buildings that we live and work. This improved connection can benefit our wellbeing by reducing stress and improving recuperation – helping to cut costs and improve outcomes in the built environment.

Why is Singapore a biophilic city? ›

Multidimensional with multiple plant species that support other species of animals and living things, they are a rich mosaic of forests, gardens, streams and marine environments linked by ecological corridors. Even their built infrastructure and buildings are biodiversity-friendly.

Why is Singapore so green? ›

Renewable energy sources and rainwater harvesting have become standard on all buildings in Singapore, including the the lotus-shaped ArtScience museum nearby which filters light into exhibition spaces. The Marina Bay Sands complex is topped by a 340m-long SkyPark with capacity for 3,900 people.

Is biophilic design expensive? ›

Biophilia is increasingly recognised as an important element in building design for creating spaces that support health and wellbeing. Luckily, biophilic design does not require extensive or expensive interventions to have an impact.

Who is a biophilic person? ›

bio·​phil·​ic ˌbī-ō-ˈfi-lik. : of, relating to, or characterized by biophilia : relating to, showing, or being the human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature.

What are the 5 senses of biophilic design? ›

Proper Biophilic Design envelopes the 5 Senses: Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, and Hearing. Biophilic design is not about just adding some plants or an extra window to achieve your desired effect. Instead it is a multi-faceted approach that really aims to stimulate an outdoor, natural experience indoors.

What are the disadvantages of biophilic design? ›

Cons of Biophilic Design:
  • Implementation Challenges: Incorporating biophilic design elements may present challenges in certain urban settings or existing structures. ...
  • Maintenance Considerations: The inclusion of living elements, such as plants and green walls, requires ongoing maintenance.
Jan 26, 2024

Can a person be biophilic? ›

The hypothesis that humans have an inherent inclination to affiliate with Nature has been referred to as biophilia [1,2]. Biophilia implies affection for plants and other living things.

What is a biophilic indoor environment? ›

Biophilic design aims to create a natural indoor environment by using natural elements, materials, and shapes.

What is the meaning of nature space? ›

A natural space is a surface of the planet that has not been affected by human activity and that relies on special protection measures to prevent damage to its resources, fauna and flora, and any change in its status.

What is nature of space in architecture? ›

Architectural Spaces

The spaces that can be utilized for living, working, cooking or sleeping, are made by making use of the walls, ceilings, and flooring. Architectural spaces fall into multiple categories, such as public, private, and semi-private, and can be found within the building and on the outside.

What does nature mean in interior design? ›

In the context of architecture and interior design, “biophilic” refers to incorporating elements of nature and natural processes into the built environment to enhance human well-being, reduce stress and create a more harmonious and appealing living or working space.

What does design with nature mean? ›

By “design with nature” McHarg meant that the way we occupy and modify the earth is best when it is planned and designed with careful regard to both the ecology and the character of the landscape.

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