The Wavertree Botanic Gardens were established by William Roascoe in the 1830s. A complex of buildings including glasshouses, potting sheds and a herbarium was situated at the top of the site. During the Blitz the Gardens were bombed, the buildings all but destroyed.
This project reinstates the original building complex in a way fit for modern times, adding a series of museum spaces to enable the public to engage further with the work of the herbarium. In addition to displaying the work of the herbarium, there will be a showcase of its vibrant history.
The form of the building looks back to at the Botanic Gardens as they were at the moment of destruction, manifesting as a series of splinters of concrete glass and corroded steel.
Order is brought to this chaotic form though a series of links to prominent surrounding features, both local landmarks and the wider context of Liverpool’s ring of parks and the docks. Views created through the building to key features such as Littlewoods Tower help to further draw people in.
Public and private spaces are differentiated by variations in cladding. All spaces are formed from a series of concrete shards. These are left exposed in the public spaces and clad in a Cor-ten expanded mesh for the private spaces. This mesh allows for windows to be inserted behind whilst keeping the monolithic look of the building. Public spaces are lit primarily from above.
A series of occupied walls house air-conditioning and other environmental controls. Each of these is fed from a central plant room.