Longwood Gardens, located just outside of Philadelphia, recently announced the transformation of its core area of conservatory gardens. Dubbed Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience, the project will add new plantings and buildings across 17 acres.
Designed by Weiss/Manfredi and Reed Hilderbrand, the project will expand the public spaces of the central grounds and connect them from east to west to offer a newly unified journey through the grounds.
The centerpiece and largest single element of Longwood Reimagined is the creation of a new 32,000-sf glasshouse (designed by Weiss/Manfredi) with gardens and pools (designed by Reed Hilderbrand). This new West Conservatory will appear to float on a pool of water, while the garden inside is conceived as seasonally changing islands set amid pools, canals, and low fountains. The West Conservatory will be a living, breathing building with earth tubes and operable glass walls and a roof that allow the interior garden to thrive.
Longwood’s Cascade Garden will be relocated to a new 3,800-sf glasshouse of its own and a new outdoor Bonsai Courtyard, built alongside the West Conservatory, will feature a large bonsai collection. A public restaurant and private event space will be carved into the topography that faces the Main Fountain Garden. Above the restaurant the landscaping of a new South Terrace and South Walk provides a shady promenade extending along the existing and new conservatories to a new West Terrace.
Other project features include the construction of a new education and administration building, complete with a library and classrooms; the renewal of the Waterlily Court; and the preservation of six historic Lord & Burnham glasshouses from the early 20th century, which will be relocated at a later date and used for year-round garden displays.
Architectural elements will link the components across all 17 acres of the project site. In addition to Weiss/Manfredi and Reed Hilderbrand, the build team also includes Bancroft Construction Company. Longwood Reimagined is expected to break ground in spring 2021.