Kew Gardens has submitted a planning proposal to replace the White Peaks Café and Exhibition Centre with a two storey Learning Centre.

The White Peaks were originally designed as a modular structure Dannat Johnson Architects for exhibitions and functions. The tented structure had been recognisable on the northern edge of the gardens.

White Peaks has been closed since  the Family Kitchen & Shop at Kew Gardens opened in 2021.

Next to the popular Children’s Garden, which opened in 2019, the Family Kitchen & Shop is a multi-sensory eatery offering families a place to eat and drink, but also to engage with the natural world and learn more about where food comes from, discovering the important role which plants and fungi play in all our lives.

A learning centre on the site of White Peaks will allow Kew to provide a bespoke and fit for purpose learning space, designed to facilitate first class learning opportunities and inspire a range of audiences – early years, school pupils and teachers, adults, community, and access groups.

The new centre will be up to two stories high and deliver a project in line with the requirements of the Circular Economy. Pick Everard (PE) have completed the Circular Economy statement and state in their report that; “the construction will aim to minimise the use of virgin materials and the principles of circular economy whereby elements that can be dissembled and reused will be considered and implemented in the design where appropriate.

PE go on to state;

“The thermal performance of the building envelope will offer enhanced energy efficiency and reduce energy use associated with heating. The building services will be designed for efficient distribution, as well as being both adaptable and flexible to accommodate future needs of the building, thereby reducing the need for replacement should the needs alter over time.”

The architects for the new centre are HMY.

A spokesperson from Kew said;

“One of our priorities in Kew’s Manifesto for Change is to inspire the next generation, we aim to increase the numbers of secondary school pupils visiting Kew Gardens and encourage them to consider plant and fungal science as a career choice, and we hope to enable expansion of learning programmes at Kew onsite through increased indoor space and offsite through live streaming plant science lessons to pupils and teachers in the UK and internationally.” 

The proposed new centre will form part of the drive by the Royal Botanic Gardens to improve opportunities for learning as part of their strategy. The new centre will target secondary school children.


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