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Cullinan gets to work in Edinburgh botanic garden

Edward Cullinan Architects has started on site with its competition-winning visitor centre scheme for the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh - four years after it first landed the prestigious project.

Back in July 2003 the practice saw off a host of big names, including Wilkinson Eyre, Richard Murphy and Michael Hopkins, to win the RIAS-organised contest to design the garden's new Gateway Building.

It is claimed the new building will offer visitors an 'an unrivalled facility to discover the world of plants and the scientific work' of the Scottish capital's Royal Botanical Garden.

The timber, glass and stone building is being hailed as a showcase for sustainable design and will feature: a biomass boiler; thermally efficient ETFE roof lights; a rainwater-harvesting system to flush WCs; solar collectors to provide hot water for the washrooms; a photovoltaic installation; and, a roof-mounted wind turbine.

The centre will house a large permanent exhibition, a real-life science lab including media facilities for presentations and seminar discussions with the garden's research teams stationed around the world.

The project, which has been designed in collaboration with Buro Happold, Max Fordham and landscape architect Gross:Max, is due for completion by spring 2009.

by Richard Waite

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