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Friday01 August 2014

Cullinan's Kew extension opens

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Edward Cullinan Architects’ extension to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has been officially opened.

The 5,000 sq m scheme was built to house one of the world’s largest collections of preserved plant and fungal specimens.

The new wing also extends the existing botanic library and provides a new reading room.

The palette of materials for the new three storey extension  – red brick, cedar and pale bronze aluminium - was selected to complement the existing Kew buildings, many of which are listed, while its concrete vaults help create  a highly-controlled environment for storing the collections.

“We enjoyed the contrast of the brief which called for dark, cool archive spaces and day lit research places for botanists to view specimens’, said Carol Costello, project leader at the practice.

“The play of timber and glass undulating walls over the brick archive box displays this contrast. All set amongst the historic buildings, protected trees and the river; so the views from the research areas are beautiful and surprising.”

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