National Herbarium of NSW
NSW Royal Botanic Garden
Mount Annan, NSW
5000 sqm (internal); 4600 sqm (external)
The National Herbarium of NSW located at the Australia Botanic Garden Mount Annan provides a new state-of-the-art facility for one of the most significant botanical resources in the Southern Hemisphere.
Previously located at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney for almost 170 years, the construction of the new facility at Mount Annan was critical in protecting the growing collection of over 1.43 million plant specimens essential for informing and making decisions about the conservation and management of our natural environment. To execute this project, Architectus worked in a collaborative design relationship with two esteemed industry professionals, architect Richard Leplastrier and landscape architect Craig Burton. Together, the team explored and researched the nature of the Mount Annan site, the complexity and extensive indigenous history of the region, and the Herbarium’s functional requirements.
Through creative collaboration, a joint concept design was developed to secure the preservation of the specimens that underpin vital scientific research and give physical expression to the new Herbarium and its precious contents at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.
The design for the National Herbarium of NSW provides precise environmental conditions with strict temperature and humidity controls protecting the precious botanical specimens from degradation and insect infestation. In addition to this, the new state-of-the-art facility provides a functional and inspiring place to work and enables staff to run public tours and transformative learning experiences to engage the community.
The collaborative design team demonstrated true innovation through the proposal of a large “fly-roof” that assists 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 supports a large-format photovoltaic array that generates electrical energy for the facility, and the roof’s surface harvests rainwater for irrigation. The elegant design of this roof also engages positively with the adjacent Australian Plant Bank Facility.
The new Herbarium and associated scientific facilities, programs, and living collections at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Australian Botanic Garden and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden have also been united under the new Australian Institute of Botanical Science.