New Lake Crossing Unveiled at Kew 16 May 2006
The Sackler Crossing, designed by eminent London-based architect John Pawson, is due to be unveiled at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on 16 May and will be open to the public from 17 May. The Sackler Crossing will span the lake situated at the west end of Kew Gardens and its elegant design will complement the natural forms of its setting.
The Sackler Crossing, named in recognition of The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation that enabled its construction, will open up new vistas and give visitors a new understanding of the earlier geometry of the site. The Crossing will provide a link between the river side of the Gardens, including Brentford Gate and the Rhododendron Dell, and other key sites such as the Temperate House and the Marianne North Gallery on the south side of the Gardens.
The design plots a curving path across the water, around an island of spectacular trees. The deck is formed of rhythmic bands of black granite laid like railway sleepers and is set at the minimum distance from the lake's surface. Cast bronze vertical cantilevers set between granite treads form simple balustrades and the top of each slender upright is smoothly contoured to fit comfortably in the hand. Depending on the angle of viewing, the spaces between the bronze fins appear and disappear, so that the crossing blends subtly with the contours of the surrounding land, the smooth expanse of the lake itself and the powerful verticals of the trees along the shore.
The Sackler Crossing is set to become a new landmark for Kew, continuing the English landscape tradition and bringing a contemporary component to the World Heritage Site. Kew has played an important role in the history of landscape design with eminent landscape designers and architects including Charles Bridgeman, William Kent, 'Capability' Brown and Decimus Burton all contributing to the Gardens over the generations. Awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2003, Kew has over 40 listed buildings within its historic landscape.
Notes to Editors
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John Pawson was born in 1949 in Halifax, Yorkshire. After a period in the family clothing business he moved to Japan, where he stayed for several years working as a teacher and spending time in the studio of the designer Shiro Kuramata. On his return to England he enrolled at the Architecture Association in London, leaving to establish his own practice in 1981. John Pawson is closely identified with the search for simplicity that has been characterised as Minimalism. His designs explore fundamentals - space, light and materials - and avoid stylistic mannerisms. His career to date has spanned a wide variety of projects, ranging in scale from a compact apartment for the writer Bruce Chatwin and a house on Mallorca for the art dealer Hans Neuendorf, to Calvin Klein's flagship store in Manhattan , airport lounges for Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong and art galleries in London, New York and Dublin . In September 2004 the church of a new monastery in Bohemia designed for monks of the Cistercian Order was consecrated in a ceremony which coincided with the project's exhibition in the British Pavilion at the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale. Current commissions include private houses in Europe and the US, a condominium in New York for Ian Schrager and a new residential tower in San Francisco . Work on the Monastery of Novy Dvur in Bohemia is ongoing. http://www.johnpawson.com/architecture/onsite/sacklercrossing.
Buro Happold is a multi-disciplinary international practice of consulting engineers established in 1976. Its bridges group provided the engineering design for the Sackler Crossing as well as project management of the construction phase. The bridges group is among the acknowledged leaders in modern bridge design and has completed many projects for local authorities, private developers, contractors and architects in the UK and abroad. The group's experience covers lightweight pedestrian bridges, steel and concrete highway bridges, light rail bridges and viaducts, and moveable bridges over water. On every project the group's aim is to produce an elegant and economical solution that is practical to construct. To ensure the bridge is structurally robust, the group carefully analyses its static behaviour and dynamic response. The long term durability of structures is also considered through careful specification of materials and detailing. One of the group's most recent projects is the Greenside Place bridge in Edinburgh, which won the Special Award at the Institution of Structural Engineers' 2005 awards. Buro Happold offers consulting services in civil and structural engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, building services and environmental engineering as well as a host of other specialist services.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction and its 132 hectares of landscaped gardens attract over one million visitors per year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and represents over 250 years of historic landscape. The site 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. www.kew.org.
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