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Ted Cullinan completes Kew herbarium

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[FIRST LOOK + PLANS] Edward Cullinan Architects’ new herbarium and library wing at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, west London, is now open for research

The 5,000m² extension to the garden’s 1853 herbarium research centre will house more than 7 million plant specimens as well as old and unpublished botanical research manuscripts.

The structure is made from fair-face to high architectural standard concrete and features bare polished concrete floors, creating a hard environment ‘inhospitable to pests such as the Herbarium beetle’.

Storage vaults are cooled by a mechanical air handling system and a ground source heat pump minimises carbon emissions.

In an attempt to complement the existing buildings the scheme features red brick, similar to that on nearby Kew Palace, with the same Flemish bond used on the original Herbarium building. The brick walls are 229mm deep.

Western red cedar, grown in England, clads the offices, reception, seminar and reading rooms. The wood is expected to turn silver over time.

Edward Cullinan Architects’ new herbarium and library wing at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, west London. Ground floor plan

Edward Cullinan Architects’ new herbarium and library wing at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, west London. Ground floor plan

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