Kew's Millennium Seed Bank - Design and build
The architects Stanton Williams worked closely with Kew's scientific and buildings maintenance staff to design the Millennium Seed Bank building.
Designer's sketch of the building.
The architects used Entada species as inspiration. (Photo: H.J. Schlieben, Tanzania 1935)
The design aims were:
1. to meet the long-term and flexible needs of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.
2. to fit a high quality building harmoniously into the surroundings.
3. to bring the public into close contact with the MSB's scientific work.
The building utilises natural contours. The ground floor nestles inconspicuously into the landscape. Topped by concrete barrel vaults, the scientific area is laid out logically and for maximum visibility from the glass-covered public area. Below, contours allow the seed vault to be buried and the bedroom and seminar areas to open onto the 'Academic Court'.
The transition between inside and out has been dissolved by drawing the landscape into the public area and by sandstone paving folding up into the elevations to 'lock' the building into the ground. A perimeter brick wall, echoing an existing Wakehurst site boundary, is threaded horizontally into the paving and the parterres.
Visit Kew's Millennium Seed Bank
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew
14 May 2013
A new hypothesis has been proposed on why some seeds are hard.
10 May 2013
With a host of new pests and diseases attacking the United Kingdom’s native treescape, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is tackling the threat by establishing the country’s first national collection of tree seeds – the UK National Tree Seed Project.
100 endangered plant species from the Extremadura region of Spain are now safeguarded for future generations
25 Apr 2013
The Millennium Seed Bank has received a donation of 181 seed accessions, representing nearly 100 endangered plant species, from the Research Centre “La Orden-Valdesequera” of the Regional Government of Extremadura (Spain).
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.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership ‘top banana’ as it celebrates banking 10% of the world’s wild plant species.
15 Oct 2009
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is celebrating collecting, banking and conserving 10% of the world’s wild plant species by banking its 24,200th plant species.