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Construction begins on first horticulture exhibition centre in Sydney

Construction begins on first horticulture exhibition centre in Sydney
May 18, 2015

Construction of the Royal Botanic Gardens first dedicated horticulture exhibition centre commences has begun.

Aimed at establishing an international attraction that stimulates, educates and creates passion for horticulture amongst our visitors, the new centre aims to underpin the role of the Royal Botanic Gardens as a site of horticultural excellence and as a major visitor attraction.

Both a living art gallery and a theatrical experience, the centre will be officially opened during the Gardens Bicentenary celebrations in June 2016. Horticulture exhibitions will change dramatically on a regular basis several times a year, reinventing itself through emotively themed exhibitions:

• Who could resist wanting to learn more about Sex and Death?
• Who wouldn’t be intrigued by Plants that Kill?
• What child could stay away from The Enchanted Garden?
• Who with a sweet tooth could go past Nature’s Chocolate Factory

The centre will be built around the site of the current arc glasshouse, in the south western corner of the garden with a more sensitive design replacing the existing tropical centre pyramid and foyer.

Raelene Lockhorst, the Royal Botanic Gardens’ Director of Strategy and Projects, who is overseeing the design and construction, explains “the design provides multiple operational opportunities for a variety of horticultural displays and interactive education programs.

“All works are naturally a model of sustainability and environmental sensitivity.”

The centre will realise the vision of Jimmy Turner, the Gardens’ Director of Horticulture Operations who adds “horticulture is at the heart of everything we do, and by involving architecture, art, creativity, science and technology, our new living art gallery will showcase plants wrapping education in fun and drama – one of the most absorbing ways to introduce people to the joys and mysteries of plants.”

200 years ago botanists and town planners working for Governor Lachlan Macquarie had a vision for the Royal Botanic Gardens. It was to be a showcase of horticulture, a place for the general public to enjoy and to be educated about plants both indigenous and introduced.

Turner concludes “our aim is to forge fresh links between the Garden and the city, locals and visitors alike.

“To attract people who haven’t had a reason to visit before.

“To engage them in a way that they wouldn’t expect.

“To challenge and change their view on plants, environment, people and life … and to draw people here, not just occasionally, but regularly.”

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