Five architectural practices have been selected to submit designs for the new visitor centre in the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens in Bowral NSW. The centre will help fund the growth of the gardens overall.
CHROFI, Fender Katsalidis Architects, Hassell, John Wardle Architects and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer are the lucky teams that will submit designs for the visitors centre, which will reportedly be located at the heart of the Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) garden. The winning practice will be given the chance to collaborate with TCL to implement the visitors centre design.
“We are delighted that architects of this calibre are participating,” said the gardens chairperson, Charlotte Webb.
Opened in late 2013, the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens are still growing and developing as part of a process that will span decades and focus on collecting and establishing a wide variety of exotic and native plants.
By incorporating the visitors centre into the design of the gardens, it is hoped that establishing a regular, and largely self-sustainable, income stream will help the gardens secure this botanic process.
TLC's masterplan for the South Highlands Botanic Garden
“Many established botanic gardens in Australia and overseas suggest that early construction of a visitor centre can provide income through retail sales and associated services as well as offering visitors a greatly enhanced experience,” said Webb.
“We are confident that the visitor centre [design] that emerges from the competition will become a landmark and a talking point in the Southern Highlands creating a new gateway to a unique Highlands landscape experience and a key regional destination.”
The final entries will be submitted June 23rd and subjected to a jury evaluation, the jury will be chaired by Architectus principal Elizabeth Watson-Brown, and include a range of industry leaders and two members of the Botanic Garden team.
The successful entry will see their design scheduled for construction in 2018/2019, subject to securing of funding.