Story of Gardening Museum

Stonewood Design

Hidden from view on the edge of a small woodland, the Story of Gardening Museum is a space of calm serenity that celebrates the historic Somerset landscape that surrounds it.

From a distance, the only hint of a built structure is a balustrade that runs along the edge of the museum’s grassed roof, where deer and other wildlife roam freely. From here, a treetop walkway gently snakes down into the woodland, fully immersing the visitor in nature. The visitor catches the first glimpses of the museum’s glazed façade between the trees and foliage. It is an unexpected and almost incongruous sight to find such an elegant civic space hidden away in this remote bucolic setting. On arrival, elegant five-metre-high glass doors slide open to welcome the visitor into the reception and café space. The museum’s permanent exhibition centres on the history of gardening. The exhibition spaces offer broad views back out to the woodland, maintaining a constant dialogue between interior and exterior. The objects on display require no humidity or temperature control. The earth is used to insulate and heat the building through a ground-source heat pump, while excess heat from the server room is directed back into the earth; the exhibition spaces are heated and ventilated by an air source heat pump. The Story of Gardening museum won a RIBA National Award and a RIBA South West Sustainability Award in 2021. The Newt in Somerset was named RIBA South West Client of the Year 2021.