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HOK restaurant to replace Walters & Cohen play centre at Kew Gardens

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HOK’s London studio has submitted plans to flatten a Walters & Cohen-designed indoor play area at Kew Gardens and replace it with a 1,150m² family restaurant 

The project in the heart of Royal Botanic Gardens, understood to have a construction budget of around £4 million, will see the existing Climbers and Creepers education centre demolished. 

Walters & Cohen created the play area in 2004 as part of its revamp of Cycad House – a temporary glasshouse built during 1980s renovation work to the Palm House. The £800,000 scheme included replacing the glass with clear polycarbonate panels and strengthening the steel as well as adding toilets, stores and a manager’s office within a pod in the centre of the greenhouse (pictured bottom).

HOK’s 60m-long timber-framed restaurant will feature a 165-capacity ’column-free dining space’ which will open on to an outdoor dining area and the neighbouring playground.

HOK associate and lead architect on the project Stuart Ward said: ‘There is a simplicity and natural rhythm to the design which reflects the surroundings at Kew Gardens and the language of the other buildings, both old and new.

‘We have utilised raw, tactile and robust materials and exposed detailing to create a space that is stimulating and engaging to children and young people that also supports the restaurant’s dual purpose as a place to learn and a place to dine.’

The submission of HOK’s scheme follows the recent completion of the new pavilion bar and grill designed by Ryder in the southern corner of the gardens. The ‘complete rebuild’ of the old pavilion restaurant on the same site opened in May.

Subject to planning, HOK’s family restaurant is set to break ground in November and complete in 2021.  

Hok plan

Plan of HOK’s proposed new restaurant

Plan of HOK’s proposed new restaurant

Project data

Location Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Type of project Restaurant
Client Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Architect HOK - Stuart Ward
Landscape architect LUC
Planning consultant LUC
Structural engineer Mott MacDonald
M&E consultant Mott MacDonald
Quantity surveyor Mott MacDonald
CDM adviser Mott MacDonald
Lighting consultant Lighting Design International (external lighting only. Currently no internal lighting or interior designer appointed)
Main contractor Not yet tendered
Funding Confidential
Tender date To be confirmed
Start on site date November 2019 subject to planning consent
Completion date 2021
Contract duration 18 months
Gross internal floor area 1,150m²
Form of contract and/or procurement To be confirmed
Annual CO2 emissions Unknown at this stage
Total cost Confidential

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Readers' comments (1)

  • No mention of whether the temporary glasshouse can't be taken down for re-use, and Walters and Cohen's internal pod be recycled.
    The London arm of a large US firm might not know any better, but you'd think this particular client might just be keen to do their bit - however meagre - towards combating climate change.

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