UK home of gardening science opens in Wisley
WilkinsonEyre complete new facility for Royal Horticultural Society
The UK’s first gardening science hub has opened to the public at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) site in Wisley, Surrey. Designed by Tenderstream member WilkinsonEyre, the ground-breaking centre showcases the Society's previously unseen scientific work and provides specialist facilities for ongoing research, helping to inspire the next generation of horticulturists and create a greener future for the UK. The 4750 sqm facility includes laboratories, public exhibition space, teaching studios, an events hall and new facilities for the RHS’s nationally significant herbarium, science and library collections.
Newly landscaped gardens, designed by Matt Keightley and Ann-Marie Powell, comprise a health and wellbeing garden outside the main entrance, a west-facing world kitchen garden, and an east-facing wildlife garden. A pair of two-storey distinct concrete and steel-framed wings splay into these green areas, clad in sustainably sourced and naturally weathering sweet chestnut timber. The first-floor window frames protrude from the cladding to provide solar shading. A double-height glazed public exhibition space connects the two wings, while an architectural cantilevered canopy marks the main entrance.
Following lockdowns imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the announcement of a climate emergency, RHS Hilltop opens at a time when the public interest in gardening is at an all-time high, and the research taking place at the centre addresses some of today’s biggest challenges, including the best plants to soak up pollution, ease localised flooding, capture carbon and cool cities.
Geoff Turner, associate director at WilkinsonEye, stated: “The new centre is designed to integrate with the working gardens and provide a central hub for the scientific community based at RHS Garden Wisley and the million plus visitors that come each year. We hope it provides optimum facilities or the vital work taking place and inspires even greater public engagement with the world of horticultural science and its importance for a greener future.”
TenderStream Head of Research
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