In the summer of 2016, CDC Studio were invited to participate in an limited design competition held by the Botanic Garden and University of Cambridge Estates. Our winning solution provides an accessible viewing platform overlooking the systematic beds, with an exhibition area below and informative pathways incorpororated into the fabric of the design.
Situated to the south of the Systematic Beds, the Rising Path has been devised as a gently sloping path that leads off from the established footpath network. The journey up and along the spiral leads you through the maturing conifer collection of the New Pinetum. Nodal landings along the route explain plant evolution and family development using graphic text on the decking and information panels.
Arriving at the three-metre high viewpoint, visitors discover a stunning view of the unique design of the Systematic Beds. An Interpretation Hub at ground level provides engaging displays drawn from the Garden’s archives to encourage visitors to explore the Systematic Beds, whilst green space enclosed by the structure provides a group briefing space and area for public events.
The shape is an irregular spiral developed from a circular plan. Its distortion and rotation are a result of the structure avoiding tree roots, trunks and the University data infrastructure. Using BIM 3d modelling from the outset, the sculptural shape developed considering both the visual form and structural requirements: a true collaboration between architect and structural engineer.