Temperate House, Royal Botanic Gardens

The Grade I-listed Temperate House, built to the designs of Decimus Burton in several phases beginning in 1861-62, is a series of pavilions standing prominently on a raised earth mound. Covering a floor area of 4,880 square metres, it is the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world. The building, however, was in poor condition by 2012, requiring a major restoration in order to continue functioning as a horticultural glasshouse. Donald Insall Associates acted as conservation architects for a major five year restoration project to enable contemporary services to be installed without the building losing its historical significance and provide facilities for education and outreach initiatives.

Works include cast and wrought iron roof and supporting structure, repairs to the masonry building fabric, and conservation of decorative sculpture. A new colour scheme is based on site investigation of historic paint finishes. Renewal of mechanical and electrical systems, including ventilation and irrigation, environmental improvements and conservation measures will enhance the care of the invaluable scientific collection of plants housed in the Temperate House. Power and heat will be provided by a biomass fuelled energy centre.

Client
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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