In light of the Urban Nature Project opening in the Natural History Museum's gardens in the Summer of 2024, the team have just been awarded the silver award in the European category at the Holcim Foundation Award for Sustainable Construction.
Natalie Tacq, Senior Project and Programme Manager, and Keith Jennings, Director of Estates, Projects, and Masterplanning, represented the project at the awards ceremony, accompanied by design team members. The recognition received at the ceremony emphasizes the dedication and innovation invested in the redevelopment!
The project, centered in South Kensington, marks a significant stride in creating a sustainable design that not only aligns with the landscape but also leaves a positive impact. It will transform an underused garden into an urban oasis including woodland, grassland, scrub, heath, fen, reedbed, hedgerow, urban British habitats, and wetlands - creating significant new areas of habitat and biodiversity. Flowering plants, fruits, and grasses will create rich habitats of seasonal variety that encourage pollinating insects and bees. This design re-presents the grounds as a living laboratory in the heart of London’s museum quarter in South Kensington.
Covering 2 acres the gardens will be split into five different sections:
Evolution Garden will tell a historical tale of diversity on Earth. As visitors enter the garden they will be taken on a journey into the deep past and invited to explore the diversity of life as it evolves.
Next, the Nature Discovery Garden will become a site for visitors and scientists to identify, monitor and study wildlife. It will be a space to explore, reflect and connect with nature.
In the East garden, the Darwin Centre Courtyard will reside, it plans to provide a space where visitors can reflect on what the future of nature might look like. Also, in the East Garden, the designs propose a new permanent structure: The Garden Kitchen. The proposal is for The Garden Kitchen to function as a cafe and function space and as a support space for planting in the gardens.
Finally, the Nature Activity Centre supported by AWS will be a new building which will combine vital facilities for scientific work, monitoring, learning activities, maintenance and supporting the volunteer community that is key to the upkeep of the gardens.
Beyond its environmental impact, the Urban Nature Project stands as a testament to the rich cultural and scientific heritage of the UK. The redesigned gardens have already provided a space for an engaged community to grow together in volunteering programmes, local groups and family learning spaces!
Opening in the Summer of 2024.
To discover more, read about the Natural History Museum's plan for the Urban Nature Project here.