This highly bespoke sustainable learning environment is located within the existing visitor gardens at Harlow Carr in Harrogate. This BREEAM ‘excellent’ project was designed to be carbon neutral with a three-dimensional glulam/sedum roof on feature timber and steel columns combined with a high quality exposed reinforced concrete structure.
The RHS wanted a new carbon neutral facility using systems, building processes and materials that would inspire visitors and be a flagship of sustainability for the RHS and for Yorkshire. It had to be stylish, attractive and inspirational but also had to blend into the existing landscape. As well as functioning as an educational environment for children, it would accommodate the RHS' large, rare collection of horticultural books and be a valuable resource to adults, thereby increasing visitor numbers to the garden. In line with the RHS' objectives, the project team met these objectives, achieved the highest BREEAM rated bespoke building in the UK with a score of 88.51 and in conjunction with the design team we reduced the project tender cost by 15% to meet the clients demanding budget.
Harlow Carr Gardens is a very busy attraction; our project did not interrupt the normal safe operation of the Gardens despite the new building bounding the main visitors’ car park. We devised an extensive arrangement and temporary access provision for access and egress. Regular weekly liaison meetings were conducted with specific attraction personnel to ensure a thorough understanding of future events and site operations; allowing sufficient opportunity to implement mitigation measures against the potential for interruption.