Construction of Sydney’s first horticulture exhibition centre commences

Artist’s impression of the new Biome.

Artist’s impression of the new Biome.

Construction of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens first dedicated horticulture exhibition centre commences today. This will be an international attraction designed to stimulate, educate and create passion for horticulture amongst visitors. The Royal Botanic Gardens is among the crowning attractions of Sydney, and this horticultural centre will become a prominent jewel in that crown.

Both a living art gallery and a theatrical experience, the centre will be officially opened during the Gardens Bicentenary celebrations in June 2016. Horticulture exhibitions will change dramatically on a regular basis several times a year, reinventing itself through emotively themed exhibitions:

• Who could resist wanting to learn more about Sex and Death?

• Who wouldn’t be intrigued by Plants that Kill?

• What child could stay away from The Enchanted Garden?

• Who with a sweet tooth could go past Nature’s Chocolate Factory?

The centre will be built around the site of the current arc glasshouse, in the south-western corner of the garden. Intelligent, sensitive architecture will replace the existing tropical centre pyramid and foyer.

“The design provides multiple operational opportunities for a variety of horticultural displays and interactive education programs. All works are naturally a model of sustainability and environmental sensitivity,” said Raelene Lockhorst, Director of Strategy and Projects who is overseeing the design and construction.

The centre will realise the vision of Jimmy Turner, Director Horticulture Operations.

“Horticulture is at the heart of everything we do, and by involving architecture, art, creativity, science and technology, our new living art gallery will showcase plants wrapping education in fun and drama – one of the most absorbing ways to introduce people to the joys and mysteries of plants,” he said.

Two hundred years ago the botanists and town planners working for Governor Lachlan Macquarie had a vision for the Royal Botanic Gardens. It was to be a showcase of horticulture, a place for the general public to enjoy and to be educated about plants both indigenous and introduced.

“Today, we live in very different times. While we share the ambition of the city’s forefathers to maintain the Garden’s connection to the public, we have to take a more contemporary tack to make that connection meaningful in 21st Century life,” said Jimmy Turner.

“Our aim is to forge fresh links between the Garden and the city, locals and visitors alike. To attract people who haven’t had a reason to visit before. To engage them in a way that they wouldn’t expect. To challenge and change their view on plants, environment, people and life. And to draw people here, not just occasionally, but regularly,” he ended.

Posted 14 May 2015