Planning applications have been submitted for Edinburgh Biomes, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s ambitious project to protect its unique and globally important plant collection. The £50m project involves seven new buildings and three refurbishments across two sites.
Designed by us and Nicoll Russell Studios, the project focuses on both the public and research glasshouses at the Garden. On the public side, we will conserve and refurbish the magnificent Victorian Palm Houses and the unique 1967 glasshouses with their steel lattice exo-skeleton. This succession of A-Listed nineteenth and twentieth century glasshouses will be complemented by a new, twenty-first century public glasshouse by NRS. A revised visitor route through the glasshouses will enhance the display of the plant collection to promote public understanding of plant biodiversity, conservation and research.
We have redesigned the support areas to provide a substantial new glasshouse to safeguard the research collections, an Education Centre and a Horticultural Building. We will add two further buildings on the Garden’s nearby Nursery site. The Plant Health Suite will provide a new national asset in the field of plant health and bio-security. It will receive and monitor new plant specimens collected from across the world and will contain world-class plant pathology and micro-propagation laboratories. The Sustainable Energy Centre will serve both sites and, in conjunction with the improved efficiency of the new buildings, will substantially reduce the Garden’s carbon footprint by producing both heat and electricity through a combination of ground-source heat pumps, combined heat and power engines and gas boilers.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is an internationally renowned centre of excellence in plant biodiversity research and conservation, an education provider and a major tourist attraction. As we progress into the next stage, we are proud to have helped the Garden reach this major milestone in delivering potentially the most significant project in its history.