Kew appoints landscape architect
Press release, 29 January 2009
In its 250th year the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) is commissioning GROSS. MAX. landscape architects to create a long-term plan to shape the Gardens for future generations.
This landscape masterplan will be the first comprehensive analysis and design for Kew since William Nesfield’s proposals in the 1840s. William Nesfield connected up the many Royal gardens that had become a part of Kew giving a coherent plan to the overall site. Since Nesfield, the gardens have gradually transformed as architects and landscape designers such as Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown sculpted the grounds.
This new project will bring together aspects of Kew’s history and heritage with biodiversity and sustainability to provide direction for the Gardens to evolve over the next 25 years. RBG Kew is a world-leader in plant conservation, working with partners around the globe to rescue species and habitats and help people adapt to the impact of climate change. Part of the plan will look at how plant conservation can be reflected in the Gardens.
“Kew is a unique landscape of outstanding historical and botanical importance, which has continually changed and evolved,” said Jill Preston, Kew’s Director of Communications and Commercial Activities. “In our anniversary year the landscape masterplan is an opportunity for us to enhance the Gardens and create a new heritage for the next 250 years.”
GROSS. MAX. will look at how the Gardens can be improved for visitors, identifying a set of ten proposals that could be developed. The designers will also consider Kew’s role as a living botanical collection, reflecting an increased interest in habitats over a pure taxonomic display. This will include where to position replacement specimens and how the Gardens’ 3D framework is affected as woody collections grow and change.
Kew became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 and unusually it is a World Heriage Site that is still being used for its original purpose. The designers will be ensuring that Kew Gardens' World Heritage universal values are maintained and will re-examine how Kew relates to the River Thames and the changing climate. The development of the landscape masterplan will be accompanied by an extensive consultation with staff to harness all the skills within Kew, as well as with external stakeholders. The plan is due to be completed in November.
Eelco Hooftman, partner of GROSS. MAX. Landscape Architects said: “The challenge of the project is to pay tribute to the Gardens’ status as a World Heritage Site as well accommodating continuous transformation. Over the years the Gardens have lost their relationship with the River Thames. The opportunity to reintegrate Kew Gardens with the river is an exciting project for the 21st century.”
Notes to Editors
- For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Chloe Kembery, Bronwyn Friedlander or Bryony Phillips in RBG Kew press office, telephone +44 (0)20 8332 5607 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Images are available at www.kew.org/press/images (please contact the press office for the username and password).
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
In 1759 Princess Augusta, mother of King George III, started an ambitious nine-acre garden around Kew Palace. Every generation has added to the charms and curiosities of Kew, now a major international visitor attraction with its 132 hectares of landscaped gardens attracting over one million visitors per year. Kew is a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site and celebrates 250 years this year.
Kew's mission is to inspire and deliver science-based plant conservation worldwide, enhancing the quality of life. and houses over 40 listed buildings and other structures including the Palm House, Temperate House, Orangery and Pagoda as well as two ancient monuments, Queen Charlotte's Cottage and Kew Palace.
RBG Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world.
- For more information visit www.kew.org
GROSS. MAX. Landscape architects
GROSS. MAX. Landscape architects are an award winning practice with projects across Europe, Middle and Far East. Recent projects in London include Lyric Square, Pottersfields Park adjacent to Tower Bridge and the external space around the Royal Festival Hall. In Scotland the practice collaborates on the new John Hope Gateway Visitors Centre at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
A range of collaborations with international renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf includes projects for the Zuiderzee Museum (The Netherlands), Essen Cultural Capital Europe 2010 (Germany)and the Shinnyo Living Plant Museum Murayama (Japan). GROSS. MAX. was awarded the European Landscape Award by Topos Magazine in 2006. A Monograph on the works of GROSS.MAX is published by C3 Publishing Co., Seoul ISBN 978-89-86780-39-0
- For more information visit www.grossmax.com
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew