Kew Temperate House reopens

Kew Temperate House reopens

World’s largest Victorian greenhouse reopens after major restoration

Kew Gardens in London has reopened its Temperate House – the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse – after a five-year restoration in which the Grade I-listed structure was stripped back to bare metal. The vast greenhouse, which is home to a geographically arranged collection of 10,000 plants from temperate climates around the world, including rare and threatened species, reopened to the public on May 5.

The glasshouse was originally designed by architect Decimus Burton and opened in 1863. The £41m restoration project saw 69,000 individual elements removed from the building and cleaned, repaired or replaced, including the replacement of 15,000 panes of glass. Heritage architects Donald Insall updated and modernised key features to enable the building to function as a contemporary working space. Aimée Felton, lead architect on the project, says, “The restoration of the Temperate House has been a complex and immensely rewarding project, recalibrating contemporary understanding of Victorian architecture and the development of past innovations. New glazing, mechanical ventilation systems, path and bedding arrangements all took their founding principles from Decimus Burton’s own drawings, held within Kew’s archives.

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“The time it will take for the newly propagated plants to reach maturity will offer visitors a full and unobstructed view of the incredible metal skeleton in all its glory: a cutting-edge sanctuary for plants.”

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Picture: Kew Temperate House. Credit: Picture: Gareth Gardner

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Steve Ott
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