The Kew Xstrata Treetop Walkway - London, UK

Marks Barfield Architects
Date Built
Opened May 2008
Kew Botanical Gardens, London
In an attempt to help visitors really appreciate all aspects of the trees at Kew, the gardens commissioned Marks Barfield Architects, the designers of the London Eye, to create the "Rhizotron" and  the "Xstrata" Treetop Walkway.  The former takes visitors underground to explore tree root biology and the walkway transports them 18 metres up into the canopy of the trees.

Once at the top of this steel structure, visitors can walk for 650 feet through the tree tops and as Joni Mitchell might have said, "look at trees from both sides now".  They can also get a view of the Gherkin and Wembly Stadium when the weather conditions are favourable and depending on the time of year and the presence or absence of leaves.

As an article in the Telegraph, at the time of the opening,  explained, "Putting the huge steel structure in the middle of woodland posed significant challenges for designers Marks Barfield Architects ... - who had to sink foundations as deep into the earth as the structure is high. The steel walkway had to be secured without damaging the roots of the sweet chestnuts, limes and deciduous oaks, some of which are more than 200 years old. "

The structure won a number of awards including: The RIBA Award 2009; The Structural Steel Design Award 2009; The Civic Trust Award 2009; and The Observer People's Choice Awards 2008

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