Ryder Architecture draws on Japanese and Chinese design at Kew Gardens’ new restaurant


Ryder Architecture

Designed by Ryder Architecture, the new Pavilion Bar & Grill at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, south-west London, forms part of a five-year strategy to regenerate buildings within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ryder’s work sets out to enhance the visitor experience to the gardens while also improving functional back-of-house buildings, office accommodation and infrastructure, along with plans for a second restaurant adjacent to the newly-opened children’s garden, an already constructed cutting edge arboretum glasshouse and plans to refurbish the grade-one-listed Palm House, designed by Decimus Burton in 1844-48.


The Pavilion Bar & Grill opened its doors in May, replacing the old Pavilion Restaurant on the same site. The new restaurant is designed to maximise views across the gardens, particularly to the Great Pagoda and recently refurbished Temperate House, and is intended to offer year-round dining for visitors. Surrounded by mature vines and trees, the low-key building blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors with a simple material palette that extends throughout the interiors. Ryder worked closely with the client to embody Kew’s vision for an ‘alfresco’ experience that underlines the importance of plants as food.


The layout is intended to maximise the sight lines out into the landscape, while the open kitchen provides visitors with the live ‘theatre’ of food preparation. The black steel finish, rational grid and glass facade with sliding doors refers to Japanese and Chinese garden design, as well as responding to the nearby Japanese Gateway Garden and Great Pagoda.

Ryder worked with contractor John Graham Construction to realise the design while managing the logistics of building in a World Heritage Site, which included retaining existing vines throughout construction. Ryder and Mott MacDonald formed a multidisciplinary team in 2016 to redevelop both Kew Gardens and Wakehurst in Sussex, as well as preparing designs in support of Kew’s vision to expand its learning and development programme. The Kew Capital Development Programme, which will conserve and enhance facilities at the site for the foreseeable future, is due for completion in 2021.


Additional Images