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New research and collection campus for the Botanic Garden in Meise
We are very pleased to share the news that we won the competition to design the new research and collection campus for the Botanic Garden in Meise, Belgium!

The Botanic Garden makes daily efforts to preserve plant diversity worldwide and uses its knowledge to motivate policymakers to make targeted choices. The architecture for the research and collection campus should express this symbolically and set an example in terms of sustainability and circularity. The design puts maximum emphasis on conservation and reuse of two modernistic research buildings of the fifties and an office building of the eighties, but above all on using less. The total volume of the building mass is reduced - by optimising the existing volumes and focusing on outdoor experience.

The eighties building will be reconverted as a ‘stacked garden’ and used as an overgrown outdoor space. A folly in the Botanic Garden.

At ground level, we restore an openness to the current very closed character of the campus. Rear sides also become fronts, with public passages and benches facing the upgraded green structures. We open up perspectives on the garden, propose two potential themed gardens in addition to the exhibition space, and engage rest points to refresh parts of the garden. New building elements that are added convey the collection and visibly incorporate the significance of the herbarium through materialisation, use of form and colour.

Overall, the design emanates an apparent simplicity that is the fruit of a very intense process of mapping and re-mapping. The result is a delineated clarity in programme, working modes, flows and subsequent global operation.

In collaboration with Baro Architectuur, SumProject, Barbara Van Der Wee Architects and VK architects + engineers