New development at RHS Harlow Carr
A new bridge will span over the Queen Mother Lake at the south end of the gardens creating improved access for visitors, new routes and new views from the bridge across the water.
The Thaliana Bridge is a project made possible thanks to a key donor, the estate of Dr Rachel Leech, whose research relating to the plant Arabidopsis thaliana is the driver for the bridge design. Designed by Gagarin Studio and DP Squared Engineers, the bridge’s conceptual design speaks directly to Dr Leech’s research.
Gagarin Studio and DP Squared Engineers, working with The Landscape Agency, submitted the planning application which includes new lakeside gardens and the strengthening of an existing bank of trees to provide a more effective buffer for adjacent road noise.
The project follows the success of the Footbridge for Leeds Climate Innovation District which Gagarin Studio and DP Squared designed which won the inaugural National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Excellence Award 2020.
Liz Thwaite, Head of Site at RHS Harlow Carr says: “The new bridge is part of our overall masterplan for the RHS Harlow Carr site, and will improve the flow of people and the overall visitor experience. We’re so grateful that Dr Leech’s estate are supporting the project and we’re delighted to be working with Gagarin Studio and DP Squared to design and name the bridge in celebration of this pioneering plant science research.”
Gagarin Studio Director, Steve Gittner explains that the paired curving forms of the bridge not only reflect the site-specific routes and orientation but also refers to the chromosomes of Arabidopsis thaliana: “The rear curved element forms a back screen, deliberately neutral and simple in appearance while the front balustrade facing the lake and gardens beyond is a sculptural element formed in a sequence of weathered steel fins and faces which vary in density and represent the sequenced RDA of the Arabidopsis thaliana chromosome,” he said.
The bridge is 21 metres long and 3 metres wide and will be constructed in weathering steel and pre-weathered larch. It is hoped that work will start in the autumn of 2021.
Images strictly ©RHS/Gagarin Studio/DP Engineers