Vertical Gardens

“With a growing urban population, high-rise buildings are an increasingly prevalent feature of our global cities. Land is a major constraint in most Asian cities and in the face of high-density urbanization, the only way to build is upwards. In Singapore’s dense, urban metropolis, where land area is extremely limited, high-rise building forms have typified the urban fabric for years.”

In this installation to our #FutureofCities project; photographer Suzanne Lee focuses on the new ways in which Singapore is adapting its urban architecture to include diverse and ingenious vertical gardening projects.

These projects represent a collision of nature and contemporary architecture; their emergence signifying Singapore’s commitment to exploring new forms of vertical living which enhance the quality of life for city residents within their ever-expanding urban landscape.

  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 10.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 200)

    A group of Singaporean youths spend their weekend skateboarding on Henderson Waves bridge; Singapore's highest pedestrian bridge, built 36 meters above the road.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 16.0, Shutter: 1/160, ISO: 160)

    Grand tree-like structures dominate Singapore’s 'Gardens by the Bay', with heights between 25 and 50 meters tall. The ‘Supertrees’ are planted with enclaves of plants including exotic ferns, bromeliads, orchids and vines. Their artificial tree structures perform a number of intelligent functions including cooling the park’s conservatories, providing shade in the day and illuminating the park with spectacular lighting at night. The ‘Supertrees’ and are designed to mimic the ecological function of natural trees; powering themselves with eco-friendly energy by absorbing solar power through photovoltaic cells and collecting rainwater to both irrigate the gardens and supply fountain displays. ‘Gardens by the Bay’ is an integral part of the Singapore government’s strategy to raise the quality of life in the city by enhancing the prevalence of urban greenery and flora.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 14.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 160)

    Grand tree-like structures dominate Singapore’s 'Gardens by the Bay', with heights between 25 and 50 meters tall. The ‘Supertrees’ are planted with enclaves of plants including exotic ferns, bromeliads, orchids and vines. Their artificial tree structures perform a number of intelligent functions including cooling the park’s conservatories, providing shade in the day and illuminating the park with spectacular lighting at night. The ‘Supertrees’ and are designed to mimic the ecological function of natural trees; powering themselves with eco-friendly energy by absorbing solar power through photovoltaic cells and collecting rainwater to both irrigate the gardens and supply fountain displays. ‘Gardens by the Bay’ is an integral part of the Singapore government’s strategy to raise the quality of life in the city by enhancing the prevalence of urban greenery and flora.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 14.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 160)

    People gather atop the Marina Bay Sands ‘SkyPark’ overlooking the Singapore skyline. The ‘SkyPark’, 200m above ground level, is larger than three football pitches and has an observation deck, 250 trees and a 150m infinity swimming pool.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 4.5, Shutter: 1/20, ISO: 3200

    Marina Bay Sands’ ‘SkyPark’ overlooks the Singapore skyline. The ‘SkyPark’, 200m above ground level, is larger than three football pitches and has an observation deck, 250 trees and a 150m infinity swimming pool. )

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 5.6, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 400)

    A salesman shows off the architectural models for high-rise serviced apartments that boast many sustainable-living features built into the architecture, including a number of sky parks and hanging gardens.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 5.0, Shutter: 1/40, ISO: 1600)

    The Pinnacle@Duxton public housing buildings (left) punctuate the Singapore skyline and melt into the city lights at night. The housing project features the world's two longest sky gardens at 500 metres each. The seven towers forming The Pinnacle@Duxton are the world's tallest public housing buildings with a total of 1,848 units of housing.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 4.5, Shutter: 1/25, ISO: 1250)

    Singapore skyline at night.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 6.3, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 400)

    People walk past the Ocean Financial Centre vertical garden in the heart of the Commercial Business District in downtown Singapore. The Vertical Garden at Ocean Financial Centre is the largest potted system vertical garden in the world, spanning about 110 metres in length and 20 metres in height. It holds 51,000 pots and 25 plant species, planted in the shape of the world map.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 6.3, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 1250)

    People walk past the Ocean Financial Centre vertical garden in the heart of the Commercial Business District in downtown Singapore. The Vertical Garden at Ocean Financial Centre is the largest potted system vertical garden in the world, spanning about 110 metres in length and 20 metres in height. It holds 51,000 pots and 25 plant species, planted in the shape of the world map.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 9.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 400)

    Pedestrians walk past the Parkroyal hotel which claims to have vertical foliage coverage totaling more than 200% of the structure’s total land area, effectively using vertical greenery to replace the original greenery that was lost to build the hotel. The 12-storey-high tower features massive curvaceous, solar-powered sky-gardens that overlook the city park in the central business district of Singapore.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 14.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 400)

    Pedestrians walk past the Parkroyal hotel which claims to have vertical foliage coverage totaling more than 200% of the structure’s total land area, effectively using vertical greenery to replace the original greenery that was lost to build the hotel. The 12-storey-high tower features massive curvaceous, solar-powered sky-gardens that overlook the city park in the central business district of Singapore.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 13.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 320)

    Pedestrians walk past the Parkroyal hotel which claims to have vertical foliage coverage totaling more than 200% of the structure’s total land area, effectively using vertical greenery to replace the original greenery that was lost to build the hotel. The 12-storey-high tower features massive curvaceous, solar-powered sky-gardens that overlook the city park in the central business district of Singapore.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 9.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 800)

    Tourists walk through the ‘Cloud Forest’ in ‘Gardens by the Bay’. The area is a popular relaxation destination for many local residents escaping the humid heat of Singapore. The Cloud Forest conservatory replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions. ‘Gardens by the Bay’ is an integral part of the Singapore government’s strategy to raise the quality of life in the city by enhancing the prevalence of urban greenery and flora.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 20.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 320)

    Tourists walk through the ‘Cloud Forest’ in ‘Gardens by the Bay’. The area is a popular relaxation destination for many local residents escaping the humid heat of Singapore. The Cloud Forest conservatory replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions. ‘Gardens by the Bay’ is an integral part of the Singapore government’s strategy to raise the quality of life in the city by enhancing the prevalence and ingenuity of urban greenery and flora.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 5.6, Shutter: 1/60, ISO: 800)

    Singaporeans walk past the ‘Rainforest Rhapsody’; a 2000 sq ft indoor vertical garden installed in the lobby of 6 Battery Road, which contains 120 different plant species. In Singapore, sky-rise greenery helps to reduce the ‘urban heat island effect’, adding a layer of insulation to buildings which reduces heat absorption.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 11.0, Shutter: 1/160, ISO: 160)

    Marina Bay Sands’ ‘SkyPark’ overlooks the Singapore skyline. The ‘SkyPark’, 200m above ground level, is larger than three football pitches and has an observation deck, 250 trees and a 150m infinity swimming pool.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 8.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 160)

    The sun sets on the Singapore skyline.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 18.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 200

    Located in a quiet corner of Singapore’s District 23, Tree House is a 24-storey condo building that boasts the world’s largest vertical garden and features state-of-the-art sustainable technologies. The building’s green wall saves more than $500,000 in energy and water costs annually by acting as both natural insulation and a rainwater harvesting system. The building also houses three sky-gardens on its 7th, 13th and 19th floors.

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  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 18.0, Shutter: 1/125, ISO: 200)

    The Pinnacle@Duxton is a collection of public housing buildings that punctuate the Singapore skyline. The Pinnacle@Duxton towers are the world's tallest public housing buildings, accommodating a total of 1,848 units of housing. The project also features the world's two longest sky gardens at 500 meters each.

    Open fullscreen
  • Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Suzanne Lee

    Singapore: Vertical gardens

    Sony α7, FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (F-Stop: 7.1, Shutter: 1/160, ISO: 200)

    Ships line the coast as the morning fogginess lifts from a groggy Singapore cityscape.

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Suzanne Lee

Suzanne Lee

“Climate change isn’t just a polar bear issue - it is real and borderless. It will impact us all and it will be irreversible, but we can slow the rate of climate change down by changing our lifestyles.”

Suzanne Lee is a self-taught photographer and videographer living between Malaysia and India. She has been a full member of Panos Pictures since 2014.

Suzanne’s long-form documentary projects have been exhibited internationally and awarded with numerous high-profile accolades. She also regularly works on multimedia commissions for global clients including important charities such as International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) & Save the Children UK.

Suzanne joins the Global Imaging Ambassadors programme with her first #FutureofCities project: Vertical Gardens. The series takes a look at the proliferation of urban vertical gardening projects in the heart of Singapore, which herald a new era in urban living for this city and hopefully more across the globe.

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