Feilden Fowles’ design of the new Natural History Museum grounds has been approved by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Councillors. In collaboration with Feilden Fowles and Landscape Architects J & L Gibbons, Purcell have undertaken heritage consultancy and research across the project to support the design of the contemporary scheme which will reimagine the gardens either side of Waterhouse’s grade-1 listed building, enhancing the world-famous attraction.

The design includes a wholesale landscape proposal for all the front gardens of the museum, including two immersive buildings - one a learning centre in the west gardens (originally used as an educational garden), and a new café that will sit within the east gardens (which usually houses the museum’s famous winter ice rink).

The historic development of the gardens was never completed as intended by Waterhouse in the 1890s, and Feilden Fowles’ contemporary scheme pays homage to the original design.

Purcell’s experience working with The Natural History Museum spans many years, and during this project, our team have completed impact assessments for both the two new buildings. There has been heritage consultancy advice at every iteration of the project which has been an informative part of the design process. It has been a fascinating project for many reasons, and our team are delighted to collaborate with such a dynamic practice as Feilden Fowles.

Jon Wright, 20th Century Heritage Consultant

The elegant café design is a slightly Modernist pavilion which will be crafted with traditional materials, reflecting the museum’s ethos, vast collection and the original design. The new buildings will also echo the divergent characteristics of the NHM’s gardens and are an expression of the team’s deep rooted understanding of the site.

The word that often links heritage consultancy work to architecture is 'knowledge'. The more you know about a site and its heritage, the more choice you've given yourself at the design stage. We've been able to give good quality advice and knowledge across the scheme, on both the history and the design intentions of the two new buildings.

Jon Wright, 20th Century Heritage Consultant

The successful scheme has been welcomed by David Attenborough and the design will boost and increase the biodiversity across the site's grounds benefiting the local environment while being an educational draw for visitors and locals alike.

Image credits: Feilden Fowles