Treehouses at Kew

International Design Competition

Location: Kew Gardens, London

Client: Kew Gardens & Museum of Architecture

Architect: Squire & Partners

Status: Ongoing

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-leading plant science institute and UNESCO World Heritage Site and are partnering with the Museum of Architecture to create this inspiring project. Treehouses at Kew will be Kew’s main exhibition running from April to October 2023 and provide one of the most enticing and unmissable visitor experiences in the 2023 London cultural calendar

The exhibition will communicate the value of good design and the role architects can play in addressing some of the most pressing problems we face today – how can we use materials sustainably, how can we respond to the climate crisis and how can we build for the needs of people and the planet.

CGLA have teamed up with Squire & Partners to design a treehouse around a majestic Black Pine tree which started its life growing in a pot akin to a bonsai tree. In the 1800’s a decision was made to plant it out, and it formed part of the original Pinetum. It later moved to the south end of the site under the supervision of William Dallimore, Kew’s first appointed arboriculturist. This tree is of cultural and historical importance to the tree collection at Kew Gardens. The assigned theme of the design for this particular tree should highlight natures architecture and biomimicry.

The Design Approach:

We have been inspired by the history of Kew’s Black Pine, evolving from a small tree framed and limited by its pot, to expanding in the Pinetum and then its current location – where it is framed by a circular base. The tree’s beautiful, natural and sculptural form – with human manipulation and nature both having played a role in its form – has informed the concept of our design.

Our proposed structure frames the Black Pine and allows users to pause and appreciate it in a way they would not otherwise have, placing it on a pedestal once more like its original pot. Visitors enter the structure and move through a strolling garden – a route which leads up and around the tree, with moments for contemplation designed in, culminating in a viewing point. At the base, a treehouse pavilion creates space for a pop-up shop, storytelling space, or further contemplation spaces. The flexible internal space can offer a changing program and be used to enjoy the tree in variable weather. Like the growth of a pinecone, our Black Pine treehouse concept comprises a spiral of parts which grow together to make up the whole and work as one.

Service offered: Landscaping

For more projects completed by our Landscape Architect team click here

CGLA are an award winning team of Landscape Architects, Garden Designers  Landscapers and Garden Maintenance Operatives working in Buckinghamshire, London and the South East, as well as on prestigious design projects across the UK and abroad. We are currently working in Oman, Jersey and France, and welcome enquires for design, landscaping or garden maintenance. Contact us here

Black Pine Kew