Restoring Kew Gardens
by Don Barker
Kew Gardens, on the banks of the River Thames in southwest London, represents 250 years of landscape and garden history. The site also houses 40 historically significant buildings, including Kew Palace, Queen Charlotte's Cottage, and the Palm House.
A complex conservation program is being undertaken to conserve the architectural and landscape heritage of Kew Gardens while developing the site to improve visitor and scientific facilities and to expand the gardens' role as a unique center for UK biodiversity.
Earlier this year the British Government's Arts Minister, Baroness Blackstone, announced that the Royal Botanic Gardens, with over 325 acres (132 hectares) of historic landscapes, was to be the United Kingdom's only 2002 nomination to UNESCO for World Heritage site status.
Whether the gardens are granted this status will be announced in June 2003. If the bid is successful, Kew would join other World Heritage sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, and the Taj Mahal. World Heritage sites are deemed to be of such importance that they are considered the responsibility of the international community rather than the country to which they belong.
The Kew Gardens conservation program, drawn up to help further its cause for World Heritage site status, includes reestablishing Kew's historic link with the River Thames, opening up its important collections for greater public access, restoring its historic buildings, and returning some administration buildings to public use. >>>
Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...
Kew Palace was the home of Augusta, Princess of Wales in the 18th century.
Photo: Don Barker
The Palm House has 10 miles (16 kilometers) of stainless steel glazing bars.
Photo: Don Barker
Click on thumbnail images
to view full-size pictures.