Edinburgh’s botanic garden transformation submitted for planning
Plans for the restoration and redevelopment of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh have been lodged with the local authority.
The Edinburgh Biomes project includes seven new and three refurbished buildings across two sites spanning both public and research spaces.
Plans for the project have been revealed at a time when the garden’s existing glasshouse facilities - including both the Grade A listed Victorian Palm Houses, and 1960’s visitor and research Glasshouses - require extensive refurbishment. It will ensure the glasshouses continue to provide a safe environment for the garden’s plant collection.
Designed by Smith Scott Mullan Associates with Nicoll Russell Studios, the first phase will involve the creation of a new, efficient, eco-friendly and sustainable energy centre, and state-of-the-art plant health suite to replace its existing facilities at the nursery to the north of the main garden.
The new plant health suite will provide a safe propagation environment. The new energy centre will introduce ground source heat pumps which, coupled with new low heat loss pipework, will reduce the carbon footprint of the glasshouses by 12%.
In a statement, Smith Scott Mullan Associates wrote: “On the public side, Smith Scott Mullan Associates will conserve and refurbish the magnificent Victorian Palm Houses and the unique 1967 glasshouses with their steel lattice exoskeleton.
“This succession of A-Listed nineteenth and twentieth-century glasshouses will be complemented by a new, twenty-first-century public glasshouse by Nicoll Russell Studios. 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.
“Support areas have been redesigned by Smith Scott Mullan Associates to provide a substantial new glasshouse to safeguard the research collections, an education centre and a horticultural building.”
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) received initial funding from the Scottish Government to take the project to planning permission stage and continues to work with ministers on the next stage which will also include a major fund-raising appeal.