Kew Garden’s Tree Top Walkway, RBG London, Rhizotron, Photo, Architect, English Design

Kew Tree Top Walkway

Rhizotron London, England, UK – design by Marks Barfield Architects

26 Mar 2010

Kew tree top walkway & rhizotron


Design: Marks Barfield Architects

Kew Garden's Tree Top Walkway London
image : Marks Barfield Architects

Kew Garden’s Tree Top Walkway opened on 24th May 2008 to over 9,000 visitors on its first day. The Walkway takes visitors 18m high into the tree canopy for a birdseye view of Kew. It provides insights into the special role of trees in our breathing planet and gives an intimate view of a deciduous woodland and its inhabitants from within the tranquillity of the leaves.

Kew Garden's Walkway Tree Top Walkway Kew Tree Top Walkway
image : Marks Barfield Architects

Assembled from 12 modular trusses, it is interconnected by 10 circular ‘node’ platforms to form a 200m loop through woodland originally designed by Capability Brown. A classroom-sized platform provides space for school groups of up to 35, and a bench to enable visitors to rest and enjoy longer views towards the Palm House. Design inspiration was drawn from the Fibonacci sequence found repeatedly in nature. Components were fabricated in Weathering Steel off site to minimise disruption within the sensitive environment.

The ‘Rhizotron’, entered through an apparent crack in the ground, will be the UK’s only walk-in viewing area illustrating the rich world of tree root biology.

Kew Tree Top Walkway : Further Information + images

Kew Garden’s Tree Top Walkway – Building Information

Client: Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
Project Value: £3.5m

Facts and figures:

– The Tree Top Walkway is 18m high and 200m long
– Foundations for the walkway are 12-18m deep concrete piles strategically located to avoid the tree roots
– Over 400 tonnes of weathering steel was used. 12 walkway trusses connect 10 ‘node’ platforms, incorporating interpretation points, which are spaced 15m apart.
– A classroom platform which can accommodate a school group of up to 35 for educational visits, overlooks the Temperate House and contains a bench to enable visitors to rest.
– The truss configuration is inspired by the Fibonacci sequence found in growth patterns in nature
– The Walkway can accommodate up to 3,000 visitors per day
– The Walkway takes visitors past sweet chestnut, lime and broad-leaved oak trees as well as one pine; 14 new trees are also being planted to enhance the experience.
– 2008 is Kew Gardens’ Year of the Tree


Civic Trust Award
Tekla Structures winner 2008
FX winner Leisure & Entertainment Venue 2008
ICE Merit Award

Text © Marks Barfield Architects 2009

Kew Garden’s Tree Top Walkway images / information received from B-G

Marks Barfield Architects

Location: Kew Gardens, London, England, UK

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The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world.

Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction and its 132 hectares of landscaped gardens attract over one million visitors per year.

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Website: Kew Gardens London, UK