Friday, February 6, 2009

London Alpine

The Davies Alpine House
Location : The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, England
Architect: Wilkinson Eyre
Environmental Consulting Engineer: atelier ten

During my studies in London I came across the Davies Alpine House, located on the site of my final project. While not a huge fan of alpine plants this technological and engineering feat had me rethinking the horticultural merit of high altitude vegetation.

Home to the Royal Botanic Garden's internationally important collection of rare and precious alpine plants, the Davies Alpine House provides very special conditions: maximum light levels, yet relatively low temperatures and constant air circulation to prevent the plants from overheating.

Environmental consultants, atelier ten, proposed a labyrinth system for the passive cooling of the structure. Cool night air is drawn in at low velocity along an 80-metre tunnel where it circulates with a simple interweaving latticework of 3.5N standard concrete blockwork. The thermal mass of the concrete cools the air further, and it is then recirculated through the alpine house above via a series of displacement tubes nestled among the plants.

the following words are from Kew / above photos courtesy of  AEingineer
"The Davies Alpine House combines sustainability, technology and accessibility in an architecture that is at once pragmatic and arresting, reflecting Kew's ongoing commitment to public education, accessibility and world-leading research." For more info please visit

The photos below depict alpine plant ecology and their contribution to a healthier environment through extensive green roof systems.


  1. That structure is amazing ! Cool entry Mr.

  2. What a structure! atelier 10 and wilkinson eyre......serious stuff, awesome post cbls, really like the alpine plant follow up too.

  3. Very interesting, a great example of when function and beauty collide!

  4. I did a presentation in school on green favorites are the Vancouver Library, a Nanaimo rest stop building, and one of the old buildings at the Fortress of Louisburg, Cape Breton Island.

    Oh...and the Seattle Library...just amazing.

    The Europeans are so ahead of us! Mt. Doug has the most amazing sedums.

  5. It was great to read such a good blog on Landscaping.It was really very informative.