The Rising Path, a dynamic spiral structure, will be situated adjacent to the Systematic Beds. It will feature an interpretation hub and 3-metre high elevated viewpoint designed to inspire visitors to explore the Botanic Garden’s Systematic Beds with fresh eyes and questioning minds
Understanding Plant Diversity Project Manager, Juliet Day says: “From global issues of food security to the local need to access high-quality green space in an increasingly high-density city, the need for public understanding of and access to plant diversity has never been greater. We hope it will inspire the ‘inner Darwin’ in all our visitors to be curious about plants!”
The new structure has been devised as a gently sloping path to lead off from the already established ‘gardenesque’ path network which exists around the Garden’s Systematic Beds. The journey along and up the Rising Path will spiral through the maturing conifer collection of the New Pinetum and be punctuated by interpretation highlighting the evolutionary innovations that have enabled plants to survive on land.
Arriving at the three-metre high viewpoint, visitors will discover a stunning overview of the unique design of the Systematic Beds. The interpretation hub at ground level will house engaging displays drawn from the Garden’s archives to encourage visitors to explore the Systematic Beds.
Professor Beverley Glover, Director of the Botanic Garden, says: “Our challenge to the architects chadwickdryerclarke, was to design an imaginative structure that played on the unique character of our historic landscape and outdoor, living collection of plants. With the Rising Path, they have succeeded in creating just the kind of intriguing, memorable and uplifting experience we were after. As the world faces key challenges, such as food security and biodiversity loss, which have plants at the heart of their solutions, we are very excited to be able to enhance our visitors’ understanding and enjoyment of our iconic Systematic Beds. The Botanic Garden is at its best when it combines cutting-edge science, world-class horticulture and thoughtful and thought-provoking interpretation.”
The Botanic Garden anticipates that the Rising Path will be ready to open for visitors in late summer 2018. Construction is estimated at three months and this will be followed by exhibition installation and a period for grass and ground recovery.
<i>About the Systematic Beds:
The Systematic Beds occupy nearly three acres and are of global heritage significance. They were first laid out in 1845 to demonstrate plant diversity and to teach plant taxonomy – the science of plant classification. Their design uniquely incorporates the leading botanic text book of the time and remains bold, visionary and beautiful to this day.
The Rising Path, designed by Cambridge architects, chadwickdryerclarke studio, is the keystone of the three-year Understanding Plant Diversity project at CUBG, which is supported by The Monument Trust. The project seeks to revitalise the contemporary relevance of the Systematic Beds for researchers, teachers and visitors.
Robin Dryer of chadwickdryerclarke studio, says: “It is a privilege to be asked to design a structure within the special and beautiful setting of the Botanic Garden. Mindful of the value of the collections around it, The Rising Path has an elegant curving form that provides a framework for furthering understanding of the Systematic Beds, as well as defining a stimulating new space in the Garden.”