Construction has begun at Kew on a new 5000m2 wing to the existing Herbarium and Botanic library. Founded in 1853, the Herbarium is the world's leading centre for the study of plant diversity. The new building will provide long awaited additional archive space for Kew's priceless collection of dried plant specimens, botanic books and illustrations. The concept for the building is generated by juxtaposing the vault-like, climate-controlled archive with airy, day-lit research spaces. These glass and timber research areas undulate around the 3 storey, brick-clad archive enabling scientists to work in close proximity to the collection. The new wing is linked to the existing herbarium by a timber and glass drum. This houses a circular reading room and ground floor reception that opens onto a newly created south facing courtyard. The design has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.
The project is due to be completed in 2009.