RHS Gold Medal winning landscape architect Marcus Barnett was commissioned by new monthly magazine ‘Eureka’ from UK paper The Times, to compose a stunning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show demonstrating ‘a commitment to science’. Marcus Barnett Landscape Architects enlisted the help of London architects NEX Architecture and structural engineering giants Buro Happold to envision a complimentary pavilion to sit within his garden, which will be relocated to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew following its temporary display at Chelsea Flower Show (24th-28th May).
Embedded in a splendid garden bursting with beneficial flora – be it for medicinal, commercial or industrial usage – is a sculptural shelter based on the biomimicry of leaf capillaries. Alan Dempsey, Founder of NEX explains: “We extended the design concepts of the garden by looking closely at the cellular structure of plants and their processes of growth to inform the design’s development. The final structure was designed using computer algorithms that mimic natural growth and is intended to allow visitors to experience the patterns of biological structure at an unfamiliar scale. The primary structure is timber sourced from sustainable spruce forests with a glass panelled roof.”
The completed pavilion is composed of a number of thick tubular fronds which form the basic supporting structure, inset with secondary timber cassettes that hold the cladding. All four walls and the roof are clad with plastic ‘cells’, enabling rainwater to run through the capillary tubes into the ground. When the structure is relocated, no building materials will remain in the ground, as at present the pavilion is simply seated on a timber raft constructed from 400m deep spruce beams, the spaces between which are filled with sand ballast to weight the structure to the floor.