Kew Gardens is building a new ‘state of the art’ learning centre

Learning is great isn’t it? Especially if you get to do it in one of London’s most stunning spots. So if you’re at school in London, today is your lucky day. Kew Gardens is building a massive new ‘state of the art’ new learning centre for students. 

According to Kew, the gardens currently don’t have sufficient learning facilities. Planning documents said it had ‘relatively few indoor learning spaces when compared to other comparable organisations’ like the British Museum and Science Museum.

The two-storey tall learning centre, designed by architects Hazle McCormack Young LLP, will have a seminar hall, gallery, equipped laboratories, learning spaces, offices, toilets and a garden. White Peaks cafe, which has been closed since 2021, will be knocked down to make way for the flashy new learning site. 

The botanical bosses at Kew have said the spot will be specially designed for learning for all ages, from early years all the way up to adults and community groups. 

Being Kew, the building itself promises to be at the forefront of sustainability, with planning documents saying the site will ‘provide a new level of teaching to all ages of students which is not currently possible with the existing site facilities’ in an ‘exemplar low-energy, high-performance building’.

All of this supports the botanical garden’s manifesto for change, which promises to encourage people to protect the environment and train up the next generation of environmentalists and plant experts. We call that a noble cause. 

A Kew spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: ‘We hope the first purpose-designed learning centre at Kew Gardens will be a gateway to inspiring the next generation of horticulturists, scientists and custodians of the natural world. This bespoke building will facilitate first-class learning opportunities for a range of audiences, including school groups of all ages, adults, and community and access groups, fostering a passion for plant and fungal science in all who visit.

‘What’s more, as we strive to create a building that is Passivhaus Plus and whole life zero carbon, the learning centre epitomises Kew’s pioneering sustainability ambitions.’

Building is set to start in the autumn and be completed by March 2026.

Here are some designs for what the centre might look like. 

Design of the new Kew learning centre
Image: Hazle McCormack Young LLP


Design of the new Kew learning centre
Image: Hazle McCormack Young LLP

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