The Welcome Building, RHS Garden Bridgewater
by Hodder and Partners
Client The Royal Horticultural Society
Awards RIBA North West Award 2022, RIBA North West Sustainability Award 2022 (sponsored by Michelmersh) and RIBA North West Building of the Year Award 2022 (sponsored by Taylor Maxwell)
A sustainable, engaging, and considered ‘public pavilion’ has been designed and delivered in order to house all amenities for visitors to RHS Garden Bridgewater. From an invited competition, the local community has been consulted in creating a much-loved local asset where visitor numbers have far surpassed expectations through a combination of tourism and community visits.
The Welcome Building embraces environmental considerations with ground source heat pumps providing 80% of requirements. Rainwater harvesting, natural cross ventilation, and green roofs are also major contributors to the life cycle strategy. The design is highly sustainable and appropriate to context.
The main building is conceived as a rhythm of tree structures supporting an overarching timber diagrid and accommodates visitor reception, seasonal sales floor, café and garden centre with ‘pods’ providing office, WCs and kitchen areas. The flexibility of the design allows pods to be dismantled without disturbing the main shell. The main body of the building can also be extended in the future as groundworks have been constructed in order to extend the frame.
Clad in treated larch but with large areas of glazing/a central roof light, the resultant building creates an uplifting space as visitors arrive and leave the gardens. The extension of the canopy beyond the thermal line at each end blurs interior and exterior and either frames views to the gardens, or extends the nursery sales area. The treatment of elevations along the length of the structure establishes outdoor areas for dining or private areas for educational rooms.
Although a large uplifting volume, the horizontal nature of the building is read as a dramatic yet sensitive installation in the landscape from various ‘moments’ within the gardens. This project re-purposes the 156 acre Worsley New Hall Estate through the collaboration of RHS, Salford City Council, and Peel Land & Property. With landscape renewal and sustainability at its heart, the project embodies post-pandemic offerings for social engagement and wellbeing through an intelligently delivered solution to amenity.
Contractor BAM Construct UK
Structural Engineers RoC Consulting
Environmental / M&E Engineers Hoare Lea
Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Arcadis
Project Management Arcadis
Landscape Architect Tom Stuart-Smith