RHS Rosemoor

A Learning Centre for the natural world

Our brief was to create an environment in which groups of 60 plus children and their teachers would be inspired to learn about the natural world around them.


The Peter Buckley Learning Centre nestles under and around a 300-year-old oak tree at the edge of the Rosemoor formal gardens. Its interconnected day-lit classrooms spill out onto a south-facing teaching terrace. The large over-sailing roof offers year-round weather protected teaching opportunities. The roof also captures large volumes of rainwater which is harvested for plant cultivation.


The building is simple to run. Spaces are naturally ventilated and flooded with natural daylight. Daylight levels within the building were modeled to ensure very high levels of daylight design are achieved. Daylight modeling was carried out in conjunction with thermal modeling to optimise the passive design of the building and ensure comfort conditions throughout the year.


The highly insulated timber frame ensures that negligible space heating is required. The design includes a large thermal storage tank fed by solar panels and a log boiler that consumes timber grown on-site.


Gale & Snowden developed the biomass strategy for the RHS, where plantation timber is felled two summers in advance of consumption. It is logged the following year and moved and stored in a purpose-built store adjacent to the wood burning plant. The log boiler was specified to suit the timber source available.


Sustainable materials and products were specified throughout. This included green oak cladding, cellulose fibre insulation, mineral and plant based paints and stains, linoleum flooring, careful selection of sheathing materials, and triple glazed windows and doors. As with all Gale & Snowden projects, the use of materials such as PVC was avoided.


The centre has proved very popular with local schools and those further afield. Gale & Snowden are delighted to have been afforded the opportunity to have worked with the Royal Horticultural Society.


Photographs by Joakim Boren