Allford Hall Monaghan Morris is working with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to provide Architectural Design, Principal Designer and Lead Designer services to assist Kew with the restoration of Kew’s iconic Palm House and Waterlily House, to protect and conserve these impressive Victorian glasshouses for generations to come.

Founded in 1759, Kew Gardens is a botanic garden in southwest London. As part of a world-renowned scientific institution for plant and fungal research, it’s living collections hold over 18000 plant species. The historic site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

In 2021 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew published its 10 year corporate strategy: “Our Manifesto for Change” aimed at ending the extinction crisis and protecting biodiversity. As part of this, Kew aims to become climate positive by 2030. To reach this goal, AHMM has been appointed to repair and decarbonise the Grade I listed Palm House and the Grade II listed Waterlily House, as well as reviewing improved accessibility, staff facilities, health and safety and to future-proof of the gardens by upgrading local energy, heat and water networks.

The Palm House and Waterlily House were both designed and constructed in the 1840s-50s by architect Decimus Burton and engineer Richard Turner, under the direction of Sir William Hooker. They are unique examples of pioneering Victorian structural and environmental services design which creates an indoor rainforest environment for the protection of tropical plants.

The project will include the replacement of the building services systems with a net zero carbon ready solution for heating, cooling, ventilation, and all services. Whole Life Carbon assessments are being undertaken to inform decision making. AHMM are working in close collaboration with consulting engineers Cundall and Ramboll, and heritage consultants and conservation architects Donald Insall Associates.

The Palm House currently houses a wide variety of tropical plants, some of which are endangered or even extinct in the wild. To complete the much-needed repair works, these plants will need new temporary homes for which AHMM will design two modern glasshouses. One of the decant glasshouses will be a temporary structure located near the Palm House, which is designed to be dismantled and relocated at the end of the refurbishment. The second glasshouse is in a back of house area and after the decant is complete it will provide additional tropical nursery space.

The project is being overseen by Kew Executive Board members - Richard Barley (Director of Gardens) and Richard Deverell (Director, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew). The Project Lead is Adam Watkins.

The project was procured under the Perfect Circle Framework.

Richard Barley, Director of Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says, “The Palm House is an iconic Victorian glasshouse, home to an amazing indoor rainforest, with tropical plants from some of the most threatened environments in the world. This restoration project is a unique opportunity to showcase low-carbon heating technologies in a world leading heritage context, and we are delighted to be working with Allford Hall Monaghan Morris on this very important project at Kew.”

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The Palm House at Kew 28.07.22

The Palm House at Kew 25.04.22