Describing the reign of the mechanistic, Talorized new state order and its transmogrification of nature in his dystopian scare novel We, Yevgeny Zamyatin wrote how, under the sovereign gaze of the “One-State”, all livings things were remade, cast anew by the Machine: “All was new, made of steel: a steel sun, steel trees, steel people.” The dreary (and admittedly, awesome) reality has found a home in Singapore, amid steel “Gardens by the Bay”, foregrounding Moshe Safdie’s gargantuan Marina Bay Sands.
The "supertrees," as they are called, are part of the soon-to-be completed OCBC Skyway that weaves an aerial walkway through a grove of 18 arboreal structures, which range in height from 82 to 164 feet. The steel trunks will collect and store rainwater for reuse and will also sport built-in solar panels to generate electricity, which will be used, among other purposes, to release hot air into the ground conservatories. The tree branches will be threaded with vines and flowers that will help towards shading visitors below, while sheathing the steel with an organic skin.
The 420-foot bridge is suspended 72 feet in the air, hovering over the ground-level gardens and opening up spectacular vistas of Marina Bay and beyond. The project’s investors hope to cultivate a new type of urban space, whose embedded ecological ethos, here given monumental expression, are meant to point towards some vague sustainable future. The OCBC Skyway will open to the public on June 29, with a nightly light and sound show beginning on July 2.
Photo credit: Tim Chong/Reuters