Grant Associates' gardens for Worcester Library draw inspiration from local landscape
Grant Associates, the celebrated landscape architects behind the Cooled Conservatories and Supertrees projects in Singapore, have seen their landscape designs for The Hive, Worcester Library come to life. The UK scheme designed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley is the first in Europe to offer a joint university and public library and opened in July 2012.
The Hive is a BREEAM Outstanding library which maximises daylighting and natural ventilation by drawing these elements into the building through seven roof cones designed to echo the ridgeline of the Malvern Hills nearby and the historic kilns of Royal Worcester pottery. Externally the form was constructed using solid laminated timber clad in copper alloy with interiors restricted to a palette of concrete and ash.
Grant Associates’ hand in this highly sustainable scheme is now complete and also takes its inspiration from the local landscape. The team devised three key themes from the surrounding terrain to tie their design together: Nature uplifts the spirits; Healthy water for sustained life; and Knowledge and Heritage.
Peter Chmiel, director, Grant Associates said: “The landscape of The Hive Worcester Library and History Centre aims to be an leading example of sustainable design, including SUDS drainage, water attenuation, productive urban gardens, locally sourced materials and plant species, and careful landscape management to enhance species diversity and ecological richness.”
The landscaping which supports The Hive looks to inspire visitors to the library with opportunities to learn about nature and the world around us as well as providing a place for relaxation and social interaction. A wildflower meadow is the main feature in the gardens and acts as a resource for environmental education while being robust enough to survive through seasonal flooding from a nearby river. Seeds planted in the meadow include cowslips, orchids, fritillaries and flag irises.
An area for children has also been devised with direct access from the children’s library. This stimulating environment is cupped by scented plants, wildlife nests and a mini orchard while a similar islet is reserved as a wildlife haven, secluded for nesting and roosting birdlife. Pedestrian channels run throughout Grant Associates’ design with seating terraces and outdoor rooms, a causeway bridge and a footbridge all encouraging visitors and passers-by to engage with the flora and fauna.