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Architectural Design

The rich plant and animal life in the botanical garden conservatory and the learning that will be shared through their inspiration are the critical components of the Darwin Project that will be enhanced through their architectural design.

The buildings designed to embrace these spaces as well as the outdoor gardens and landscaping will be visual jewels in Boston’s open space system for years to come. Their visual quality will inspire us to move inside to experience and enjoy the fullness of the place.

The structures and open gardens will span three parcels simply referred to as Parcels 19, 21 and 22, and will be designed to read as one integrated campus. They will provide an island of natural beauty and respite from the icy grey days of our winters.

The glass conservatory and learning center on Parcels 19 an 21 will be among the first buildings designed and constructed in 21st Century Boston. As such, they will respect our past, but capture the imagination of the future. (See site map below for parcels).

Botanical conservatories have long been architectural laboratories. The crystal palaces of the 19th Century were innovations in their use of structural steel and glazing. Boston’s new conservatory will be an innovation in its use of green building technology, environmentally sensitive climate control and universal accessibility. The structures will be designed to be adaptive to their programming and as flexible and fluid as the topic they address.

Just as the uses and activities inside of the buildings will promote an environmental ethic of conservation and stewardship, there will be an overall green philosophy for the built structures. Visitor facilities will be well integrated into the building and landscape design, including cafes and spaces for sitting and lingering to enjoy nature.

The Botanical Garden will be complemented by an outdoor gateway garden on Parcel 22 which will define not only an entrance to the botanical garden campus, but also create the southern gateway to the Rose Kennedy Greenway - 21st Century contribution to Boston’s splendid open space system.

Discussions are underway with the Japan Society of Boston which is considering sponsoring this garden. The Japanese architectural tradition will bring principles of landscape design to the garden that are some of the oldest and most thoughtful in defining peaceful gardens within a dense built environment.

The garden will introduce a diversity of design to the spaces in the Greenway, and symbolically connect us to the source of much of New England’s plant life – native Asian plant species arriving to North America on Clipper ships docking at neighboring Boston Harbor wharfs. The façade of the existing ventilation building on the garden parcel will be redesigned and activated with cafes and visitor services.

We also are exploring other public realm uses to embrace the gateway garden site and complement the project. The overall design will enhance the new Dewey Square public
spaces. The garden also will be the first visible expression to be built on the botanical garden campus, leading the way for construction of the conservatory and Learning Center.

The landscape design of the gateway garden, the entry garden to the glass conservatory, and landscaping in general will reflect the overall biodiversity and exploration theme of the Botanical Garden. They will be defined by native New England species as well as by exotic plantings naturalized to New England’s temperate climate.

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