National Herbarium of NSW
NSW Royal Botanic Garden
Mount Annan, NSW
The National Herbarium of NSW is a repository for the NSW Royal Botanic Garden’s dried plant specimens, comprising 1.4 million specimens and growing, that underpin research on taxonomy, systematics and conservation.
Architectus worked in a collaborative design relationship with two esteemed industry professionals, architect, Richard Leplastrier and landscape architect, Craig Burton. Together the group explored and researched the nature of the site, the complexity and extensive indigenous history of the region and the functional requirements of herbaria.
Through creative collaboration, a joint concept design was developed to secure the preservation of the specimens that facilitate scientific research and give physical expression to the herbarium and its precious contents.
The solution needed to provide for precise environmental conditions to preserve the precious specimen collection, within a tight temperature and humidity and from complete isolation from insect infestation. In contrast to this, the National Herbarium of NSW facility is to be engaging for public visitation. Establishing a harmonious balance between the two presents a significant challenge.
The collaborative design team demonstrated true innovation through the proposal of a large “fly-roof” that will assist with protecting the specimen vaults from excessive heat while simultaneously providing a deeply shaded external setting for public access and use.
The long span structure of this roof will support a large format photovoltaic array that will generate electrical energy for the facility, and the roof’s surface will be used to harvest rainwater for irrigation.