Darwin Centre phase II - landscape

 Darwin Centre phase II - landscape. C.F. Møller. Photo: C.F. Møller

Client

The Natural History Museum

Address

London, UK

Size

5000 m²

Year

2001-2010

Competition

1st prize in international competition - after prequalification. 2001

The second phase of the Darwin Centre is an extension of the famous Natural History Museum in London, taking the form of a huge eight-storey concrete cocoon, surrounded by a glass atrium.

The landscape scheme for the exterior space of Darwin Centre 1 and 2 creates a setting that integrates the buildings into the larger landscape context. The sunken oval garden deals with the site level changes and acts as an extension of the atrium space creating a dedicated area for events and education.

A tree grove links the garden visually to the adjacent wildlife garden and connects the two spaces by the green canopy and lush ground-cover below. A transparent screen planting against the science labs at the ground floor is achieved by bamboo planting in a narrow alignment with the building at the north side. The all-encapsulating spiraling oval creates a space that geometrically and functionally links the levels and spaces of the wildlife garden, the lawn at the west, and the Darwin buildings in a free flowing form. In this way it underlines the garden as a transitional space in its dual geometry of both enclosing the space and opening it up towards the surroundings.

A broad terrace along the Darwin Centre buildings provides space for activities or elements such as a small café or kiosk inviting visitors to enjoy coffee and rejuvenate. The lower level of the sunken garden can accommodate gatherings and serve as an outdoor space for school classes as well as providing a flexible area for events.

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Team

Construction

HBG Ltd (main contractor) Blakedown Landscapes

Engineering

ArupFulcrum Consulting

Architect

C.F. Møller Architects

Landscape

C.F. Møller Landscape

Collaborators, other

Turner and Townsend (cost consultant)

Awards

  • Civic Trust Award. 2011
  • Dedalo Minosse Award - Honourable mention. 2011
  • Shortlistet til RIBA Awards in London. 2011
  • Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2009. 2008
  • 1st prize in international competition - after prequalification. 2001

References

  • 2013 Contemporary Danish Architecture, p. 23

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