There are a lot of great reasons to incorporate more greenery into urban environments. Trees, shrubs, grass, and other plants help keep cities cooler by mitigating the urban heat island effect that occurs when materials like concrete and asphalt absorb heat and radiate it back into the urban environment. They also boost biodiversity, make cities more beautiful, and improve air quality.

Aerial view of the CapitaSpring building's lush plant-lined walkways.

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Lush green garden space inside Singapore's biophilic CapitaSpring skyscraper.

It may seem like heavily developed cities don’t have a lot of room for more greenery, but Singapore is proving there are all kinds of ways to integrate it, even within skyscrapers. CapitaSpring by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Carlo Ratti Associati is the latest project to bring beautiful vegetation to Singapore’s extremely dense urban fabric.

Looking up at the BIG and Carlo Ratti-designed CapitaSpring biophilic skyscraper in Singapore.

The BIG and Carlo Ratti-designed CapitaSpring biophilic skyscraper in the context of its Singapore surroundings.

Standing over 918 feet tall, CapitaSpring incorporates an incredible 80,000 plants spread across its 51 floors. These green spaces offer a “seamless transition between the garden and the city,” with lushly planted oases concentrated at the base, core, and roof of the building.

Trees cover the public spaces in and around SInapore's biophilic CapitaSpring skyscraper.

Walkable rooftop of Singapore's biophilic CapitaSpring skyscraper.

“As someone with Singaporean heritage, I have been honored and humbled by the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing evolution of architecture in Singapore as a distinct blending between the contemporary and the tropical,” says Brian Yang, Partner in Charge of BIG. “In our design, this manifests as a seamless transition between the garden and the city, articulated in the facades and a series of lush spiraling gardens connecting between various programs and filled with amenities representing a spectrum of use.”

Indoor restaurant space on the lower levels of Singapore's biophilic CapitaSpring skyscraper.

Chef picks produce from the edible gardens in Singapore's biophilic CapitaSpring skyscraper.

“Our design seeks to continue Singapore’s pioneering vertical urbanism with the 2800-meter tall diverse neighborhood of places to work, live, and play inside as well as outside,” says Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner of BIG. “Due to the unique character of Singapore’s urbanism — both extremely dense and green — we decided to make the design a vertical exploration of tropical urbanism. At grade, the street is closed to form a new linear park and public plaza.”

Street-level entrance to Singapore's biophilic CapitaSpring skyscraper.

Ingels adds that “a vertical park in the middle of the tower forms a spiraling promenade ascending among tropical tree trunks and canopies. On top, an urban forest feeds all the restaurants and cafés in the building and allows visitors to enjoy the lushness of the summit.”

The lower eight floors of the building contain residences with amenities like a swimming pool, jogging track, gym, jacuzzi, lounge, social kitchen, and barbecue pits. The upper 29 floors contain premium office spaces. The “Green Oasis” is in between, an open-air garden where residents, office workers, and visitors can all stroll around, gather, and relax.

Street-level view of Singapore's lush CapitaSpring skyscraper.

Singapore is one of the 100 most crowded cities in the world, with a population of about 6 million. It’s also one of the greenest. In 1965, in the aftermath of British colonial rule, Singaporean leaders decided the nation-state would focus on becoming a “Garden City,” prioritizing green spaces and creative ways to introduce plants to the urban environment.

Looking out on the city from the CapitaSpring rooftop.

With limited land supply, Singapore builds upwards, encouraging architects and developers to allow skyscrapers and gardens to intertwine. Projects like Marina Bay Sands, Raffles City, Changi Airport, and now CapitaSpring serve as role models for the world, demonstrating the value of creative green spaces in growing cities.