BVN donovan hill roots australian plantbank to botanic gardens habitat

BVN donovan hill roots australian plantbank to botanic gardens habitat


BVN donovan hill roots australian plantbank to botanic gardens habitat
photo by john gollings
all images courtesy of BVN donovan hill

 

 

 

the ‘australian plantbank’, designed by BVN donovan hill, relates closely to its biological context through systems technologies and a thoughtful treatment of the surrounding landscape. located in mount annan, new south wales, the institution serves as a research facility and seed repository for the royal botanic gardens and domain trust. additionally, it is a venue for showcasing the organization’s work to the public, through exhibitions and visitor tours. this trust’s primary mission is the conservation of regional plant species and the regeneration of ecosystems, which is reflected and promoted by the building. beyond, a transitional landscape mediates the relationship of the structure to the surrounding cumberland plain woodland.

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

a concrete base elevates the building, connecting the landscape at a central courtyard
photo by john gollings

 

 

 

the user experience was of the utmost importance in the plantbank’s design. the building is elevated six meters above the road level, and approached by a ramping journey. a central courtyard results, underneath the heart of the structure. while passing through this tunnel-like void to access the main entry, visitors see their reflection on mirrored surfaces above. the underpass also leads to a lichen garden built from remnants of sandstone block rescued from demolished buildings in sydney, which gradually decompose from their urban state. the internal layout of the building allows guests to view researchers working in laboratories, as well as the facilities associated with the seed storage and treatment.

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

mirrored surfaces face the underside of the lifted structure
photo by john gollings

 

 

 

in an attempt to create a place which can be utilized and enjoyed beyond the building’s hours, the garden also offers experiences for visiting. from the ground level entry of the facility, walking paths easily access the ‘stolen generations memorial’, as well as the woodland edge. additionally, a ‘captured’ landscape was designed within the curve of the structure’s roiunded form to provide seating, shade and spaces for contemplation. plant descriptions are also provided throughout the garden to offer information about the landscape’s biological makeup.

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

a lichen garden displays the decomposition of former sandstone building blocks
photo by john gollings

 

 

 

beyond its programmatic correlation to ecology, the project relates closely to its environment through its form and building systems. location on the site, as well as shading fins on the northern façade, moderate solar gain. additionally, operable glass louvers and an open floor plan allow for cross ventilation during most of the year. this creates a more comfortable interior environment for workers and visitors, while also reducing energy consumption.

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

a transitional landscape mediates between the building and surrounding environment
photo by john gollings

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

a covered porch area views toward the woodland context
photo by john gollings

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

vertical fins moderate solar gain
photo by john gollings

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

research spaces are open to viewing by visitors
photo by john gollings

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

glass louvers allow ventilation through exterior walls as well as into private areas
photo by john gollings

bvn donovan hill plantbank building designboom

photo by john gollings

 

 

project info:

 

location: mt. annan, NSW, australia
architect:
BVN donovan hill
landscape architect: 360 degrees
engineer: AECOM
construction: hansen yuncken
project management services: thinc projects
client: royal botanic gardens and domain trust
completion: december 2010 – october 2013
value: $19.8 m AUD
area: 3,000 sqm

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