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  • Institute of Transformational Technologies
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  • RHS Garden Hyde Hall Hilltop Complex
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View: Grid List
Client
Royal Horticultural Society
Location
Chelmsford, Essex
Contact
Carol Costello
Team
Concertus Design and Property Consultants, Brooks and Wood Ltd, Smith and Wallwork, MLM, Couch Perry Wilkes, EEP, Jackson Coles, Boyer Planning, The Energy Practise, Dudley Smith Partnership, Adam Frost Design
Awards
Blueprint Awards - Shortlisted (2019) AJ Architecture Awards - Shortlisted (2019) RICS Award - Tourism & Leisure (2019)
Press
Architecture Today (2019) Wood for Good (2019) Architects’ Journal (2019)

The Hilltop Complex at RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Essex, has undergone a major transformation with the development of two new buildings masterplanned and designed by Cullinan Studio. What was once a working farmstead for the site is now a hub for enjoying and learning about how we can nurture our natural world, and a space to inspire the gardener in all of us, furthering the Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) vision to enrich everyone’s lives through plants and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.

RHS Garden Hyde Hall Hilltop Complex

The garden at Hyde Hall has been steadily evolving over 25 years, but was lacking key facilities, namely a dedicated education facility, a multipurpose event space and a restaurant to nourish visitors after their exploration of the extensive gardens. We masterplanned new buildings on the hilltop to house these essential aspects of the visitor experience. They comprise: the Clore Learning Centre, funded by the Clore Duffield Foundation; and the Hilltop Lodge, home to a new award-winning field to fork restaurant and new activity barn.

Every project has a wider context, and through our work on significant garden estates, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and Edinburgh, we have learned that the seamless integration of buildings with their immediate landscape and heritage is fundamental to the success of a project.

At Hyde Hall we imagined these precise roof forms silhouetted against the sky, rising out of lush gardens and enticing you to walk up the hill. Once at the hilltop, you arrive at a garden framed by buildings which offer refuge and prospect. Each building plays a part in fulfilling a larger ambition to create a very special place that will leave a lasting impression. 

Concept sketch of the Hilltop Complex

Designed as a family of buildings which enclose and open up to the landscape so that it can be enjoyed in all seasons, it is a fitting location for the RHS to fulfil its long-term objective to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture.

As well as supporting the RHS’s expanding education programme by accommodating twice the capacity, from 5,000 to an expected 10,000 visiting school pupils per year, the new buildings create a landmark to draw visitors through the landscape, and a vantage point from which to enjoy the views.

The restaurant has been a particular success, overtaking the busy arrivals café in popularity, and even winning a Field to Fork Award for its delicious menu made with Hyde Hall grown produce.