Eden Project architect Grimshaw is among five teams shortlisted for a new £2.5 million conservatory at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) in Canberra
The UK-headquartered practice – which has offices in Sydney and Melbourne – is competing against local firms BVN, Terrior, CHROFI and Sean Godsell Architects.
- Grimshaw Architects – lead architect Andrew Perez
- BVN – lead architect James Grose
- Sean Godsell Architects – lead architect Sean Godsell
- Terroir – lead architect Professor Gerard Reinmuth
- CHROFI – lead architect John Choi
Backed by federal agency the Director of National Parks, the 500m² project will create a new glasshouse (pictured, artist’s impression) for native tropical flora including threatened species from the Kakadu and Christmas Island National Parks.
The proposed facility – to be known as the Ian Potter National Conservatory – is the centrepiece of a 20-year masterplan intended to boost visitor numbers at the attraction.
Planned to complete in 2018, the conservatory is one of several planned improvements to the 90ha gardens which first opened to the public in 1970.
Located at the base of Black Mountain, the ANBG was part of the original masterplan for the capital city drawn up by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin in the early 20th century.
The facility features the world’s largest living collection of native Australian flora, but has seen a steady decline in visitor numbers over recent years.
A £12.5 million regeneration masterplan – drawn up by landscape architect Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) – set out a turnaround strategy for the gardens last year.
Planned improvements include a new national seed bank, visitor centre, café, amphitheatre, wedding garden, eco-lodge and treetop ropes course.
Bushwalking trails to the nearby National Arboretum – also designed by TCL and TZG – will furthermore be included
The five shortlisted teams will receive around £5,000 each to participate in the design competition which runs until 7 July.
The overall winner – set to be announced on 18 July – will win an additional £2,500 plus the design contract.