WilkinsonEyre won the competition to design a 11,500 sqm conservatory for the China National Botanical Garden, a 400 hectares botanical garden situated in the north-western outskirts of Beijing.
The new conservatory houses plant species from the Tropics, American Desert, South Africa, Australia, Mediterranean, and the Alpine – each requiring a different climatic environment, carefully designed along a continuous 500m route comprising a varied and exciting experience within each climatic zone.
The proposed undulating gridshell structure is clad with a combination of glass and ETFE cushions, maximising the benefits of both materials to provide a suitable environment for plant growth and visitor experience all year round.
The landscape around the new conservatory is re-designed, featuring new event spaces and play spaces, to allow the other existing conservatories to be grouped together as a cluster that would form a new focal attraction within the wider gardens. A new footbridge is proposed to connect the existing conservatory to the new entrance plaza, negotiating the level differences on site.