Kew Gardens appoints ISG to Temperate House Precinct Project

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has announced its appointment of ISG to carry out a £24 million restoration of the Temperate House at Kew Gardens, as the building phase of a wider £36 million project.

The Temperate House, dating from 1863, is the largest remaining Victorian Glasshouse in the world. It houses Kew’s important collection of temperate zone plants, including some of the world’s rarest, most useful, interesting and beautiful plants. The expert glasshouse team has spent the last year preparing and moving large mature plants, as well as creating a collection of newly propagated plants. These are now temporarily housed in glasshouses ‘behind the scenes’, to be grown, ready to form a rejuvenated collection for planting into the restored Temperate House. Construction works are due to complete in spring 2017, then follows a year of replanting work, with plans for a formal re-opening in May 2018.

The restoration project will not only restore the entire building and its statuary, but repair and replace the support systems integral to the workings of such a large glasshouse, including ventilation and irrigation, and will bring much improved facilities and accessibility for visitors and staff. The restored Temperate House will then be used once again to display a world-class collection of temperate plants, to inspire, educate, and engage the thousands of visitors to Kew – including families, schools, researchers and community groups.

ISG’s extensive restoration and conservation work experience will ensure that this iconic building is both protected for future generations and adapted to suit current requirements. ISG has years of valuable experience in restoration and refurbishment of heritage buildings including the Grade I listed Royal Festival Hall, the Grade II Vaughan’s Mansion in Shrewsbury and the £16m refurbishment of the Grade I listed Royal Institution of Great Britain. ISG’s approach also considers community, and the company will support engagement initiatives by Kew, as well as managing the operational challenges of working in a live public environment.

Stuart Deverill, ISG’s Southern regional managing director, commented:

“The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has a global reputation for plant research and conservation and to play a role in supporting that important work through this refurbishment project is a real privilege. The Temperate House is the largest remaining Victorian glasshouse and we are delighted to be working to protect this stunning building, while creating an environment where plants, education and tourism can flourish.”

Andrew Williams, Temperate House Project Director at RBG Kew said:

“We are delighted that work can now commence on this vital restoration of one of the nation’s most important historic horticultural buildings, built to protect, display and enable education and research using a living collection of plants from the temperate regions.”

The full restoration and landscaping will take several years to complete, with the Temperate House due to re-open in May 2018.

Turner and Townsend have been appointed to supply a turnkey project/cost management/CDMC and design service with a consultant team including: Ramboll as structural engineers and lead designer, Donald Insall Associates as architects, Hoare Lea (engineering services), Land Use Consultants (landscape and environmental), and Butler and Young.

The Temperate House project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Defra, generous funding from many private donors, foundations and trusts, as well as donations from Kew’s members and visitors.