Kew's Millennium Seed Bank - About the building
Find out more about Kew's Millennium Seed Bank and the vital conservation work carried out here.
The Millennium Seed Bank and Parterres (Image: RBG Kew)
Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, which opened in 2000, is located at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex and is an integral part of the visitor experience, together with the Mansion and gardens. As well as providing space to store thousands of seed samples in a large underground vault, the Seed Bank includes advanced seed research and processing facilities and a state of the art exhibition about seed conservation. The exhibition area is housed in the Orange Room, which is located between the two laboratory wings. The public can observe seed research and conservation in action in the laboratories, which are visible through glass walls.
The interactive exhibition allows you to find out how seeds are collected from the wild and what happens to them when they first arrive at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank. You can also discover how seeds are stored in the Seed Bank itself and why it is important that seeds are stored for the future. Some of the diversity of UK native flora is shown in the eight parterres just outside the Millennium Seed Bank building, which show habitats from the seashore to the uplands.
About the architecture
Kew's Millennium Seed Bank was designed by the London-based architects Stanton Willliams. An important aspect of the brief was that the design of the building was in character with its location at Wakehurst Place. Stanton Williams created a low-level building with barrel-vaulted roofing, inspired by the surrounding landscape forms. The main materials used for the external walls and roof were fair-faced concrete, sand blasted to expose the aggregate in specific areas, York stone, painted steel and structural glass panels. The building has been designed to maximise energy conservation, while providing the best possible conditions for seed storage.
Visit Kew's Millennium Seed Bank
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew
10 Feb 2014
Elinor Breman, Species Collections Support Officer at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), reports on a training workshop in Vietnam that brought partners from across Asia together to learn about collecting, handling and banking the seeds of their crop wild relatives.
04 Feb 2014
The World’s Most Valuable Bank – What is Nature Worth was a Kew Patrons event that took place in November 2013. The panel discussion focussed on the economic value of our planet’s natural resources, and questioned what price we can put on nature. The talk is now available to download as an MP3.
25 Jan 2013
He may be a Seed Morphologist but Wolfgang Stuppy of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank discovers there is more to the snake gourd than just some strange fruit and eccentric seeds.
20 Sep 2012
Here comes a slightly different 'Seed of the Month' blog by the Millennium Seed Bank's Seed Morphologist, Wolfgang Stuppy, in which he explains why saving seeds is more than just a good idea!