Thursday, 14 October 2010

DRAPERS' ACADEMY: VISIT TO KEW GARDENS 13 OCTOBER

A view of the famous pagoda at Kew.  We have a great landscaping opportunity at Drapers' Academy, in part to revive a 190 year old landscaping scheme by Humphry Repton (1752-1818).  But this pagoda is probably just a little too ambitious for our budget.

A group of us working on Drapers' Academy, including representatives from Kier, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Cormac Fanning from the Academy, visited Kew Gardens yesterday to discuss how we are going to plant and operate the biome that will play a big part in stimulating the science syllabus as well as being an arresting part of the building's design.

The biome, a two storey glass box with a 1000 square foot footprint, will be built on the south side of the science block and be visible immediately on entering the Academy.  It will be in three segments.  The centre will contain a full size tree, on the eastern side there will be an enclosed arid, hot environment and on the west side, alongside the main corridor, we had originally intended to create a wet tropical environment but after discussion with Kew yesterday we will probably creater a slightly cooler space but one that will grow temperate plants that do would not survive outside in England.  We are creating probably the largest biome at any school in Britain (but I recognise that such records can be easily broken) and a facility that will have a huge ranges of uses.

Discussions with the Kew team, who were really helpful and enthusiastic, were very fruitful, no pun intended, and we came away with lots of ideas and a much clearer idea of the timing and nature of of the various decision points in during the Academy building programme.
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The Kew Gardens team have a great knowledge of the sort of plants that appeal to children and carnivorous plants are right at the top of the list.  This is a Pitcher Plan. It is designed so that  insects fall into the plant into a broth of very powerful enzymes and are digested.  Interesting the little lid on top is not not designed to trap the insect but rather to stop rain entering inside the stem and diluting the strength of the liquids inside. Also the Kew Gardens team told us that after some school visits they have to remove a variety of objects that have been fed to the Venus Fly Traps, rubbers, rulers and sweet wrappers are some of the more commonly found untasty objects. 

1 comment:

  1. Marvellous! What an exciting addition to the Academy!

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