Midtown Gardens has over 350 species of flora across 3.8 hectares of landscaping, which can now be enjoyed free by concrete-weary folk looking for a green reprieve in the heart of Singapore’s CBD.
Guoco Midtown hopes to transform the city’s skyline, as well as its landscape by 2022. Developer GuocoLand has staked its reputation as a green-thumb by introducing what it claims is the most extensive privately-developed collection of gardens in Singapore city.
Known collectively as Guoco Midtown Gardens, 30 thematic gardens and landscaped spaces spanning 3.8 hectares (ha) will turn the 3.2 ha of prime land in the Beach Road-Bugis district into a new leisure destination.
GuocoLand Group Managing Director Cheng Hsing Yao says the gardens are ‘weaved’ like a botanic tapestry into Guoco Midtown’s built environment, extending from the ground floor to various levels at the podium and all the way to the rooftops of the towers. Ten of these gardens are publicly accessible, providing the community with a chance to immerse themselves in nature and in public events.
“Our vision for Guoco Midtown is to bring about a transformation of the neighbourhood into a new business and lifestyle destination in the CBD. One of the new identities of the future ‘Midtown’ of Singapore is a botanic garden in the city – one that is knitted into the urban fabric of an integrated mixed development. The biophilic design of Guoco Midtown also demonstrates how the private sector can play a role in a whole-of-nation effort to contribute to the Singapore Green Plan 2030. Guoco Midtown’s city in nature concept is built upon these principles to make our city greener, more liveable and promote a sustainable lifestyle with green transportation and green buildings,” says Cheng.
Guoco Midtown is the result of GuocoLand’s collaboration with design firms; Australia’s Denton Corker Marshall led by Design Director Adrian Fitzgerald helms the overall site over at Beach Road, while four-time President’s Design Award winner Yip Yuen Hong of ip:li Architects designed the latest addition to Guoco Midtown – the 558-unit Midtown Modern with its twin residential towers and a retail podium.
Ortus Design is the landscape architect tasked with integrating nature into the multiple components of Guoco Midtown, from its office tower, retail clusters to the two residential developments. According to Ortus Design Partner Chia Jui Siang this is not the first time he
has collaborated with GuocoLand, having been involved in the landscape design for Goodwood Residence and Martin Modern in his previous employment before setting up Ortus Design.
“Guoco Midtown Gardens will show how nature can be weaved into spaces for live-work-play. The botanic tapestry is purposefully designed to achieve a delicate balance between the built-up and the green spaces in the development. It will enhance wellness and productivity of the community, and serve some ecological functions like mitigating heat island effect, collect and purify rainwater for use or as run-off into the city reservoir. We designed the gardens with different themes, framing the views of experience so that there is more sense of exploration. The curation of a diverse range of plant species seeks to evoke curiosity and a sense of awe and mindfulness, while contributing to the natural capital and biodiversity of the place. This is wellness living with nature,” says Chia.
With a total of more than 350 species of plants, including several rare and endangered native species, these gardens are part of GuocoLand’s efforts to create a green destination to connect with the surrounding community through recreation, wellness, in-nature dining, events and placemaking activities.
Some of the publicly accessible thematic gardens include a Native Garden of indigenous plants and orchids; Midtown Market with an epiphyte collection that forms a hanging garden above the public space; Forest Giants Walk with its tall tropical forest trees; Water Garden
with a fresh waterside plant collection; and Eucalyptus Plaza for people and cyclists to rest.
Gardens in the City for the Public
Directly linked to the Bugis MRT Interchange Station, Guoco Midtown will have three distinctive public spaces – Midtown Square, Midtown Market and Midtown Common. The Midtown community will enjoy unique shopping and dining experiences at these spaces elevated by an abundance of greenery and participate in a curated programme of public events and activities.
Midtown Square is located near the grand arrival of Guoco Midtown’s office tower. Overlooking Midtown Square on Level 3 is the Native Garden, an outdoor botanical library of native plants and orchids, and home to one of the world’s largest orchid species, the Tiger
Orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum).
An ideal space for informal markets, concerts and festival celebrations, Midtown Market, is anchored by the Network Hub and Midtown House, the conserved heritage building of the former Beach Road Police Station. Visitors can dine al fresco at one of the gastro bars under the collection of epiphytes, or plants with hanging foliage and flowers such as the Curtain Ivy (Cissus verticillate) and Jade Vines (Strongylodon macrobotrys).
Located next to Midtown Market is the Water Garden, a garden of serenity featuring freshwater waterside plants such as the native Paku Wangi, Sakat Hitam (Phymatosorus scolopendria) and flowering plants such as the Giant Spider Lily (Crinum x amabile) and the Bamboo Orchids (Arundina graminifolia).
Right below Midtown Modern is Midtown Common, a large public space where the community can shop and dine amidst a natural setting. This space is right below Midtown Modern with direct access to the Bugis MRT interchange.
Other featured plants in Guoco Midtown’s public areas include Dipterocarp, found at the Forest Giant Walk. It is the world’s tallest tropical tree which averages about 45 metres and can reach over 80 metres at maturity in its natural environment. Known for its winged fruits, this is one of the forest tree species belonging to the family Dipterocarpaceae, the family of forest giants.
Located at Level 7 of the office tower are the Mid Levels Garden spaces comprising a sanctuary garden for relaxing, a bamboo grove with a jogging track and an event space. The Network Pool Terrace on the roof of the Network Hub includes a 40m lap pool and a private dining room. Together, these spaces become an extensive recreation area for executives to participate in personal relaxation activities like jogging, swimming and meditating or in curated events like group exercise classes, poolside cocktail parties and private dining events, all while enjoying nature and views of the Marina Bay.
At the top of the office tower, the Sky Gardens offer even more spectacular views of Marina Bay, Kallang Basin and various city skylines, making it a great place for corporate events or private meditation when there are no events held.
Residents at Midtown Modern will enjoy being surrounded by nature while living in the heart of the city with their own private gardens on Level 3. The landscaping is designed with more than ten thematic gardens comprising almost 200 species of trees and flora, some rare and indigenous, spread over 1 hectare – a rarity for a condominium in the heart of the CBD. Many of the gardens are designed as forests, and plants and trees species are selected to create the atmospheres of Spring, Summer and Autumn. The garden also provides a backdrop to a wide range of amenities including a 50m pool, tennis court, hot spring and a clubhouse, among others.
At the heart of the expansive Level 3 gardens at Midtown Modern is the Grand Lawn, surrounded by the Summer Wood. Residents will enjoy appreciating the white flowers of the intriguing Snake Tree as they fall on the lawn. Besides a selection of tree and plants, the Grand Lawn is ideal for activities such as yoga or just a place to watch the children play. This space is surrounded by the Summer Wood, which features a number of intriguing tree specimens such as the Snake Tree which flowers in the night, leaving a carpet of blooms on the ground for residents to discover in the morning.
GuocoLand says Midtown Gardens will also adopt technologies to conserve water and energy. This includes a fully automated water efficient irrigation system that will meet 20 per cent of its irrigation needs through rainwater harvesting and sub-soil dripping. GuocoLand was awarded the Green Mark Champion award in 2020 by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for achieving a substantial number of Green Mark buildings at Gold level or higher. Guoco Midtown’s office component and residential tower Midtown Bay claims to be both certified Green Mark Platinum.
(Ed. Featured concept image of Guoco Midtown Market Scent Garden courtesy of GuocoLand.)