Edinburgh Biomes


A visionary plan from The Royal Botanic garden to protect its unique and globally important plant collection.


The Edinburgh Biomes project aims to secure the Garden’s work for future generations. It will also provide a spectacular new visitor experience. The project brings together RBGE’s research, horticulture, education and infrastructure facilities. Not to mention, a significant refurbishment and rebuilding of its Glasshouses.


The Garden’s existing facilities – including both the Grade A-listed Victorian Palm Houses, and 1964 visitor and research Glasshouses – require extensive refurbishment. The glass used up until now was no longer fit for purpose. Whether that was from a health and safety perspective or from its inability to preserve the precious plant collections. Another of our challenges was also understanding the conditions of the existing buildings that will allow them to be repaired and maintained into the future. As well as, the structure of the new state-of-the-art hub glasshouse. The existing boiler house also needed to be moved to a new location and be de-risked.


The primary public hub of the Biome will be a stunning new Glasshouse. This will provide the entrance taking visitors through the updated A-Listed Front Range and Victorian Temperate and Tropical Palm Houses. The proposed first phase involves the creation of a new, efficient and sustainable energy centre and state-of-the-art plant health suite. 3-D thermal and CFD analysis gave us invaluable insights on air and heat use leading to a hybrid glass solution of single and double-glazed panels. Talking to Kew Gardens, was also very helpful in our approach here. The existing boiler house will be replaced by a new energy centre at the nursery site. The new energy centre introduces ground source heat pumps which, coupled with new low heat loss pipework, will reduce the carbon footprint of the Glasshouses by 12 %.

Key Facts

Inverleith, Edinburgh
Client: Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE)
Photographer: Nicoll Russell Studios



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