The Orangery, Kew

William Chambers was employed by Kew founder Princess Augusta as Architect for the Gardens and he completed the Orangery in 1761. Built of brick and coated in durable stucco, it is the largest classical style building in the Gardens. As its name suggests, the Orangery was designed as a hothouse to grow citrus plants but the low levels of light made it unsuitable for this purpose. The Orangery was used for many different purposes, including as a timber museum, to exhibit wood from Britain’s colonies; in the late twentieth century it was set up as a tea room.

William Chambers was employed by Kew founder Princess Augusta as Architect for the Gardens and he completed the Orangery in 1761. Built of brick and coated in durable stucco, it is the largest classical style building in the Gardens. As its name suggests, the Orangery was designed as a hothouse to grow citrus plants but the low levels of light made it unsuitable for this purpose. The Orangery was used for many different purposes, including as a timber museum, to exhibit wood from Britain’s colonies; in the late twentieth century it was set up as a tea room.

DJA were appointed to repair the building and increase its capacity to convert it into a 300-seat restaurant and function space. The Orangery originally had a variety of minor incremental buildings attached over the years, which could neither appropriately nor adequately support its use as a restaurant and shop. The practice was briefed to rationalise the existing buildings to provide an improved facility. Feasibility studies suggested that only a complete demolition of all buildings except the Orangery itself, and construction of a new, single contemporary extension, which related to the line of the original walled garden, would provide a better functional and aesthetic solution.

DJA were appointed to repair the building and increase its capacity to convert it into a 300-seat restaurant and function space. The Orangery originally had a variety of minor incremental buildings attached over the years, which could neither appropriately nor adequately support its use as a restaurant and shop. The practice was briefed to rationalise the existing buildings to provide an improved facility. Feasibility studies suggested that only a complete demolition of all buildings except the Orangery itself, and construction of a new, single contemporary extension, which related to the line of the original walled garden, would provide a better functional and aesthetic solution.

The new extension, which provides servery, kitchen and conference spaces, was conceived as a series of shallow vaulted pavilions projecting out from the north wall and separated from it by a lightweight glazed link. A generous stone-paved terrace completes the landscape setting of the building and provides additional outside dining space, at the same time seamlessly resolving step free access into the building.

The new extension, which provides servery, kitchen and conference spaces, was conceived as a series of shallow vaulted pavilions projecting out from the north wall and separated from it by a lightweight glazed link. A generous stone-paved terrace completes the landscape setting of the building and provides additional outside dining space, at the same time seamlessly resolving step free access into the building.