Longwood Gardens, an approximately 1,100-acre botanical garden in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley, recently announced plans to transform its core conservatory area. On 17 acres, the $250 million project will include expanded gardens and public spaces as well as new buildings.
Dubbed Longwood Reinvented: A New Garden Experience, the project grew out of a master plan drawn up in 2010 by West 8 with Weiss/Manfredi. Longwood continued to work with Weiss/Manfredi as lead designer, in collaboration with Reed Hilderbrand, on Longwood Reimagined. The project is managed by Bancroft Construction.
The centerpiece and largest element of Longwood Reimagined is a new 32,000 square foot greenhouse, designed by Weiss/Manfredi, with gardens and pools designed by Reed Hilderbrand. With asymmetrical peaks, the West Conservatory will appear to float on water. Inside, the garden will feature seasonally changing islands amid pools, canals and low fountains. Building on the tradition of 19th century greenhouses, the West Conservatory will feature opening glass walls and roof.
Longwood’s Cascade Garden is completely relocated to a new 3,800 square foot greenhouse. An outdoor courtyard for bonsai will be built along the western conservatory. A public restaurant and private event space will be carved into the topography facing the main fountain garden. And above the restaurant and event space, the South Terrace and South Promenade will provide a shaded promenade stretching along the Conservatory Gardens to the West Terrace, with views over the Brandywine Meadows.
Other elements of the Longwood Reimagined project include the construction of an education and administration building with a library and classrooms, the renewal of the Waterlily Court and the relocation and preservation of six historic early 20th century Lord & Burnham glasshouses century.
Owner: Longwood Gardens
Design architect: Weiss/Manfredi, Reed Hilderbrand (landscape designer)
Official architect: Weiss/Manfredi
MEP engineer: Jaros, Baum & Bolles
Structural engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
General Contractor/Construction Manager: Bancroft Construction