THE GREAT PAGODA, KEW GARDENS

Great Pagoda Kew Gardens

The Great Pagoda, Kew Gardens

Austin-Smith:Lord was appointed to undertake the design and sensitive execution of fabric repairs to the iconic, Grade I Listed Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens, London.

The conservation team worked closely with the Historic Royal Palaces team to prepare proposals that are in keeping with this significant listed structure dating from 1761.

The Great Pagoda was designed by Sir William Chambers for Princess Augusta. Chambers was her architect and tutor to her young son George who would later become King George III.

Chambers created a series of architectural structures from around the world to create one of the most fashionable estates in England if not Europe at the time.

Only the Pagoda and Orangery survive to this day but other structures namely the Mosque, Alahambra and House of Confucius which were made of more ephemeral materials have been lost.

A major element of this important conservation work was to return the iconic building back to its original splendour and to rediscover or replace the eighty timber dragons which have become synonymous with the Pagoda.

The restored Pagoda reopened to the general public in July 2018 and will no doubt be extremely popular with visitors from all over the world.

See Austin-Smith:Lord’s Director and Head of Conservation David Millar talk about the project in more detail in these short videos:

The Great Pagoda: about the project

Can 18th Century craft meet 21st Century tech in conservation architecture?

How can we ensure heritage is a gift that keeps on giving?

The astonishing clues in paint analysis about the history of buildings

Image credit (completed project): Robin Forster Photography

It has been fascinating to piece together the story of the elusive dragons, missing from this remarkable building for over two centuries. Using tantalising contemporary accounts and drawings, and taking inspiration from surviving eighteenth century dragons in houses and museums across Europe, we’ll be pulling together a team of specialist craftsmen to ensure the new dragons are as faithful to the original design as possible.

Craig Hatto – Project Manager, Historic Royal Palaces

LOCATION: LONDON

CLIENT: HISTORIC ROYAL PALACES

VALUE: £5m

COMPLETION: 2018
SERVICE: CONSERVATION, ARCHITECTURE
SECTOR: ARTS & CULTURE
CONTRACTOR: BLUE SKY BUILDING

LANDSCAPE: AUSTIN-SMITH: LORD
STRUCTURES: HOCKLEY & DAWSON
SERVICES: CHAPMAN & BDSP
COST CONSULTANT: MORHAM & BROTCHIE LTD

AWARDS:
2018 RICHMOND SOCIETY AWARD

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