GROSS. MAX. landscape architects UK

Gross.Max appointed to develop Kew Gardens Masterplan

Press Release

Kew appoints landscape architect

In its 250th year the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) is commissioning GROSS. MAX. landscape architects to create a long-term plan to shape the Gardens for future generations. This landscape masterplan will be the first comprehensive analysis and design for Kew since William Nesfield’s proposals in the 1840s.

William Nesfield connected up the many Royal gardens that had become a part of Kew giving a coherent plan to the overall site. Since Nesfield, the gardens have gradually transformed as architects and landscape designers such as Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown sculpted the grounds.

This new project will bring together aspects of Kew’s history and heritage with biodiversity and sustainability to provide direction for the Gardens to evolve over the next 25 years. RBG Kew is a world-leader in plant conservation, working with partners around the globe to rescue species and habitats and help people adapt to the impact of climate change. Part of the plan will look at how plant conservation can be reflected in the Gardens.

“Kew is a unique landscape of outstanding historical and botanical importance, which has continually changed and evolved,” said Jill Preston, Kew’s Director of Communications and Commercial Activities. “In our anniversary year the landscape masterplan is an opportunity for us to enhance the Gardens and create a new heritage for the next 250 years.”

GROSS. MAX. will look at how the Gardens can be improved for visitors, identifying a set of ten proposals that could be developed. The designers will also consider Kew’s role as a living botanical collection, reflecting an increased interest in habitats over a pure taxonomic display. This will include where to position replacement specimens and how the Gardens’ 3D framework is affected as woody collections grow and change.

Kew became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 and unusually it is a World Heriage Site that is still being used for its original purpose. The designers will be ensuring that Kew Gardens' World Heritage universal values are maintained and will re-examine how Kew relates to the River Thames and the changing climate. The development of the landscape masterplan will be accompanied by an extensive consultation with staff to harness all the skills within Kew, as well as with external stakeholders. The plan is due to be completed in November.

Eelco Hooftman, partner of GROSS. MAX. Landscape Architects said: “The challenge of the project is to pay tribute to the Gardens’ status as a World Heritage Site as well accommodating continuous transformation. Over the years the Gardens have lost their relationship with the River Thames. The opportunity to reintegrate Kew Gardens with the river is an exciting project for the 21st century.”


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