The Natural History Museum unveils 5 acres of transformed gardens

The transformed outdoor space at the Natural History Museum opened this morning, unveiling five acres of gardens telling the story of evolution on our planet, from 2.7 billion years ago to the present day. Feilden Fowles led the transformation, working in collaboration with landscape architects J&L Gibbons and alongside Gitta Gschwendtner, engineersHRW and Max Fordham.

Driven by an ambition to conserve and enhance biodiversity across the site and working closely with the Museum’s expert scientists, the team developed a holistic plan which sensitively incorporates two new timber and stone buildings: the Nature Activity Centre supported by Amazon Web Services; and the Garden Kitchen, into a landscape of accessible outdoor living galleries, which provide a sequence of opportunities to learn about and explore urban nature, and the incredible diversity of life on Earth.

Respecting the heritage of the Museum’s iconic Grade 1 listed building, designed by Alfred Waterhouse and dubbed the ‘Cathedral to Nature’, has been a core guiding principle. Waterhouse arranged the Museum with past (extinct) nature in the east wing and present (living) nature in the west, an idea echoed in the thematic arrangement of the gardens. The Evolution Garden in the east tells the story of Deep Time, through The Evolution Timeline, supported by Evolution Education Trust, representing the strata of our geological landscape. A new learning landscape in the west, the Nature Discovery Garden supported by The Cadogan Charity, showcases the broad range of UK habitat types present today and future approaches to climate adaptation.

Bringing history to life, this immersive and awe-inspiring landscape is part of a national programme of activity aiming to inspire people, in particular young people, to fall in love with nature and become the naturalists of the future.

“For this to truly be an ambitious and pioneering project, this needed to be a collaborative effort, drawing in expertise, advice and input from inside and outside the Museum. We visited other gardens, learning spaces and ecology centres; we spoke to scientists, conservationists, geologists; we learned from our communities, teachers, families and accessibility experts and we tendered for the best design team who were equally inspired to deliver a sustainable, accessible and biodiverse-friendly design.” – Natalie Tacq, Urban Nature Project Programme Manager, Natural History Museum

To see more of the project, click here.

Image credit – Kendal Noctor / The Trustees of The Natural History Museum / Feilden Fowles

A 3-billion-year stroll

“It has giddying cliffs, three-billion-year-old rocks, a prehistoric forest – and a giant bronze dinosaur called Fern. Our writer hurtles back through millennia as the beloved museum’s five-year revamp comes to fruition.”

To read Oliver Wainwright’s review of the transformed outdoor space at the Natural History Museum, click here.

RIBA National Award Winners

The Dining Hall at Homerton College, Cambridge has won a National RIBA award!

Many thanks to the jury and our brilliant client for their passion and dedication during this process. “A young(ish) Cambridge college took a chance on a young architectural practice with big ambition and an even bigger heart. The result is a building that is a triumph of intelligent design with deep social, cultural, and environmental purpose.” – Vice Principal, Dr Francesca Moore.

Congratulations to the fantastic team involved and everyone who has contributed to the project from competition through to completion – and beyond. Thanks also to our publicist Claire Curtice and her wonderful team for their support.

To find out more about the project, click here.

The Observer – Stirling prize 2024: a two-horse race?

We’re delighted to have been featured in Rowan Moore’s article in the Observer highlighting the Dining Hall, Homerton College, as one of his recommendations for this year’s RIBA Stirling Award shortlist “..its design playing a game of heft and lightness between the skinny timber frame of its interior and the substantial-looking deep green faience on the outside.” Following success at the Regional Awards in May, we’re keeping everything crossed for Rowan’s predictions to come true for the fantastic client, design team, contractor and everyone involved in the project. Read the full article on the Guardian Website by clicking here.

Black Robin Farm

This week, we’re placing a spotlight on our project at Black Robin Farm, a retrofit and refurbishment of this historic farmstead, which seeks to preserve the agricultural character of the existing buildings and their unique setting, while extending the campus to include a new flexible art gallery and events space.

The new gallery building is located on the northern side of the track and is formed of three distinct gallery volumes, rendered in lime and flint. The monopitch roofs follow the fall of the land, provide north-lit galleries and optimal orientation for photovoltaic panels. Internally, the gallery spaces have been designed in collaboration with Towner to create flexible, simple and raw spaces for art; one of the galleries is designed as a climate-controlled space and the other two are designed to GIS standards.

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‘Ascensions’ at the Royal College of Art

Our director Fergus Feilden will be joining RCA Alumni on Tuesday 28 May for a series of intergenerational conversations. As well as presenting a number of Feilden Fowles’ projects, he will be documenting his journey since graduating the RCA, using image and sound, alongside other guests Jane Hall (Assemble), Stephanie Macdonald (6a) and Sohanna Srinivasan.

To join this public event, please follow this link to register for a free ticket.


Homerton Dining Halls wins a RIBA East Award 2024

We’re delighted that the Dining Hall at Homerton College, Cambridge has been awarded a RIBA East Award. Our director Edmund Fowles and project architect Eleanor Hedley were at the ceremony this evening alongside Francesca Moore, vice principal at Homerton College.

Feilden Fowles’ design for the hall is symbolic of Homerton’s progressive character and its bold social ambitions, yet simultaneously sits in dialogue with the rich architectural heritage of Cambridge. There are echoes of the marching buttresses of King’s College Chapel, references to the Victorian Gothic Revival of Homerton’s Great Hall, and motifs of the neighbouring Arts and Crafts Ibberson Building. The highly crafted material and tectonic language combine as a marker of today’s architectural thinking, an embodiment of low-tech design principles: an Arts & Crafts building for the 21st century.

‘A young (ish) Cambridge college took a chance on a young architectural practice with big ambition and an even bigger heart. The result is a building that is a triumph of intelligent design with deep social, cultural, and environmental purpose.’ Francesca Moore

We’re sharing a film made by Jim Stephenson and Laura Mark, where Edmund speaks about the influence of the Arts and Crafts, low tech design and the social agenda behind the creation of the building.

MHK_A Antwerp Competition Shortlist

We are excited to share that we’ve been shortlisted for the competition to design Antwerp’s new contemporary art gallery MHKA. Sitting on the banks of the river Scheldt, the 22,000m² of gallery space will provide a new home for the Flemish Government’s contemporary art collection. We’ve partnered with Studio Nauta and Pieter Bedaux to form an international team, building on our skills in the arts and cultural sector, and a collective strong sustainable agenda. For more information on the competition, see the article by the Architects’ Journal here.

Practice Manager Maternity Cover

We are seeking an experienced individual for a temporary role covering the Practice Manager’s maternity leave, starting June 2024.

To find out more about this role and how to apply, follow the link to our careers page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Mansfield College, Oxford Transformation

Feilden Fowles has been appointed as lead designer on a holistic transformation of University of Oxford’s Mansfield College, working alongside development partner Stories to address the estate and the needs of students and teaching staff. The wide-ranging project involves the development of a plan for new facilities and the significant enhancement and refurbishment of heritage buildings, while working towards the College’s ambitious sustainability targets. The architects won a limited design competition run by Stories working with architectural advisor Municipal.

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