Our Project Story

Temperate House.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew | Donald Insall

Arts, Culture & Heritage
Carl Saxon, Partner at Hoare Lea

Lead Partner:
Carl Saxon

Diverse needs nurtured.

Our work with Kew Gardens was rooted in its history but also looked to its future growth. The venue has two very different spaces: Temperate House, the original Victorian building; and Evolution House, a modern glasshouse. The former required careful refurbishment. Period radiators needed to be kept and added to; clear glass and wooden frames had to be replaced; and the ability to maintain a temperature of 10-degrees for frost-sensitive plants was imperative. We designed all of the services to be rooted and installed in the most sympathetic way possible, maintaining the classic Victorian look and feel the building is known for.

Elevated expectations.

An additional element to our work at Kew involved the indoor lift to the tree-top skywalk. Our Vertical Transportation team was called in to resolve an issue with the lift shaft, which had begun to bend in the humid temperature. Many consultants had told the client they’d need to start from scratch, but our team took inspiration from mine shafts, which often need to bend, and provided a unique solution perfect for the space.

Human conditions.

Our challenge at the modern Evolution House was to automate ventilation in a skilled way that allowed warmer climate plants to flourish, but made for a pleasant user experience. The client wanted spaces for seminars and other events, so we designed an automated ventilation solution that ensures the optimum temperature is maintained no matter what the weather. We also proposed a biomass wood-fuelled burner, which uses cuttings or plant waste that would otherwise be thrown away – a fantastic addition in keeping with Kew Gardens’ commitment to sustainable solutions.

Now after five years, Temperate House will re-open for the public to enjoy.

Key Figures
10 Degrees of temperature sensitivity maintained
150 year old plants housed
Grade 1 Listed building