The Calyx, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney just gained a new attraction.

The Calyx, designed by PTW and McGregor Coxall architects, opened in the southwest corner of the park just last month.

The Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines a calyx as “the outermost part of a flower”.  This is a fitting name for any building in a botanic garden; however, this structure deserves it even more than most. The design blossoms and spirals outwards just like a flower opening.

The concept of the Calyx evolved as part of a major refurbishment plan for the garden’s 200th birthday last month. The site’s Arc glasshouse and Tropical Centre were demolished and re-purposed as part of the new design, which sees a strong emphasis on sustainability, flexibility and responsive adaptation.

The architecture is designed to seamlessly integrate inside and outside spaces. Exhibitions will weave in- and out-of-doors, capitalizing on the seasonal changes reflected in the garden. Different spaces can also be segmented or united with retractable walls to suit exhibition requirements. The building also features the southern hemisphere’s largest interior green wall.

The architects gave serious attention to making the building ideal for habitation by both plants and people. Oriented north to achieve optimal lighting conditions, the building encourages plant growth. Plenty of glass and open space encourages a natural feel to the whole building.

Landscape design also suits the new structure, with radial paths spiraling out and connecting the gardens to the building. The circular steel structure in the middle, dubbed ‘the Iris’, is the most highly visible part of the building; it contains the foyers, education and retail spaces of the centre.

Termed ‘the jewel in the garden’, The Calyx uses MAX™ 182mm Structural Glazed Framing to achieve its all-glass appearance. It also features EDGE’s 45mm commercial doors and Brighton glazing adaptors to enable it’s wave-like formation. View more photos of the Calyx in our project gallery here.