The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria has appointed John Wardle Architects to design a proposed Nature and Science Precinct at the Melbourne Gardens.
The project will establish a nature gallery and learning and participation centre, and include the restoration and expansion of the 1934 National Herbarium of Victoria building as well as the expansion of the children’s garden. The project will create a public-facing herbarium with plant identification services and a State Botanical Library.
The redevelopment will allow the more than 1.5 million specimens from the State Botanical Collection to be shared with the public for the first time.
“The Royal Botanic Gardens Nature and Science Precinct draws together many strands of deep interest for our practice – landscape, horticulture, history, art and science,” said John Wardle. “They all come together in a project with remarkable ambitions and great significance for Melbourne and the many who consider our Botanic Gardens a special place.”
John Wardle Architects, led by principals John Wardle, Stefan Met and Meaghan Dwyer, will work in collaboration with Laidlaw and Laidlaw Design Landscape Architects on the new precinct.
In January, the Victorian government announced $5 million in funding for a feasibility study on the proposed precinct. Early works on the Herbarium are expected to start in early 2020 and building is likely to start in 2021.
The government has also committed $27 million over five years for the revitalization of the Royal Botanic Gardens’ Melbourne and Cranbourne gardens.