Treehouses at Kew Design Competition, MoA London Gardens Building Contest, New Architecture

Treehouses at Kew Design Competition by MoA

7 January 2022

Location: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, south west London, England, UK

Treehouses at Kew Design Competition

7 February 2022 12 noon GMT: Stage 1 Expressions of Interest submissions deadline

Tree 1:
MoA Treehouses at Kew Design Competition Tree 1

MoA Treehouses at Kew Design Competition

Competition tree photos © Luke Hayes

The three trees are:

Tree 1 – Play

Tree 2 – Highlighting nature’s architecture and biomimicry

Tree 3 – Showcasing pioneering sustainable materials and innovative design

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Museum of Architecture launch an international design competition to create three spectacular treehouses at Kew in 2023

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Museum of Architecture (MoA) have launched an international design competition to find three exceptional designs to create three Treehouses across RBG Kew’s UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a larger ‘Treehouses at Kew’ Exhibition taking place in 2023.

‘Treehouses at Kew’ will be Kew’s main exhibition running from April to October 2023 and provide one of the most unmissable visitor experiences in the 2023 London cultural calendar. It will unveil seven Treehouses, a gallery exhibition, and an accompanying visitor programme. An anticipated 900,000 visitors will attend the exhibition during its run, and each treehouse must inspire visitors in fun and interactive ways to learn more about protecting the climate, biodiversity and sustainable design.

Tree 1 – Play
Treehouses at Kew Design Competition Tree 1

Tree 2 – Highlighting nature’s architecture and biomimicry
MoA Treehouses at Kew Design Competition Tree 2

Tree 3 – Showcasing pioneering sustainable materials and innovative design
MoA Treehouses at Kew Design Competition London Tree 3

The Treehouses

  • Three treehouses will be chosen through the Treehouses at Kew Design Competition
  • Three Treehouses will be direct commissions by architects from Kew’s designated International Scientific Priority countries
  • One treehouse will be co-designed in collaboration with young people

The exhibition will communicate the value of good design and the role architects can play in addressing some of the most pressing problems faced today – sustainable use of materials, responding to the climate crisis and creating places that successfully balance the needs of people and the planet. It is a unique opportunity to use creative and architectural thinking to design within and around Kew’s living collection and produce inventive, accessible, and innovative designs.

Kew’s 14,000 trees are the backbone of its UNESCO world heritage site in West London, but, more pertinently, they represent the ‘lungs’ of our entire planet. Trees contribute immeasurably to our mental wellbeing and, more immediately, provide us with commodities that underpin life; clean air, food, timber, fuel and medicines. Change to our climate has become one of today’s important environmental and social issues resonating with people all over the world.

Treehouses at Kew Design Competition from Museum of Architecture on Vimeo.

The Competition

The international design competition invites architects and multi-disciplinary teams to come up with an exceptional design for a treehouse for one of three selected trees within Kew’s 320-acre site – a Maple, a Pine and a Silver Lime.

Each treehouse design should respond to that tree’s specific theme. The themes are:

1: Celebrating play – a Norway Maple

2: Highlighting nature’s architecture and biomimicry – a Pine

3: Showcasing pioneering sustainable materials and innovative design – a Silver Lime

Tree 3:
MoA Treehouses at Kew Design Competition London Tree 3 aerial

Richard Deverell, Director of RBG, Kew, said: “We are delighted to launch the competition to find talented architects to work with us on this exciting summer programme for 2023. This is a unique venture for us in that it combines a celebration of our most prized asset, our beautiful collection of trees at Kew Gardens, with an opportunity to highlight our global science work through an architectural exhibition. We hope it will inspire our visitors to look at trees differently and ultimately to protect our planet and its precious biodiversity by championing high-quality, nature-based solutions to the challenges we face. I cannot wait to see the designs and watch it all come to life.”

Tree 2:
MoA Treehouses at Kew Design Competition London Tree 2 aerial

Melissa Woolford, founder of the Museum of Architecture said: “Architects draw from nature to inform their designs aesthetically, to find design solutions, and come up with sustainable outcomes. The Treehouses at Kew Design Competition is an important opportunity to show how forward-thinking designs and material use can have a positive impact on our planet. I am really excited to see how design teams respond to this opportunity to create innovative design approaches that inspire thousands of people to think differently about the natural and built environments.”

Designed and built using sustainable renewable materials, each treehouse should celebrate and explore key aspects of trees and their importance to our world by bringing visitors closer than ever before to Kew’s living collection.

The jury, which includes Kunle Barker, Manijeh Verghese, Oliver Wainwright, Morag Myerscough, and Simon Allford, is looking for designs that are architecturally interesting, demonstrate

boldness, are pioneering in the use of materials and include a legacy life so the treehouses can be reassembled elsewhere.

It is anticipated that the delivery of Treehouses at Kew will be supported by a number of partners including Finsa UK Limited, Xilonor and Arup.

Tree 1:
Treehouses at Kew Design Competition 2022 Tree 1

Treehouses at Kew Design Competition Submissions

This will be a two-stage competition run by the Museum of Architecture in partnership with Kew. The competition is open to UK-based and international architecture practices, and

submissions are welcomed from collaborations. Further information about the submission process can be found on the Museum of Architecture’s website.

All first stage submissions should be emailed to by 12 noon (GMT) on Monday 7 February 2022.

The successful winning entrants will be required to work with Kew Gardens and Museum of Architecture to realise their treehouse onsite and to be included in various project components such as the gallery exhibition, visitor programming, publications, marketing and press and commercial activities associated with the project.

Tree 2:
MoA Treehouses at Kew Design Competition London Tree 2

About Museum of Architecture

The Museum of Architecture (MoA) is a charity dedicated to finding new ways for the public to engage with architecture and to encouraging entrepreneurship within architectural practice in

order to stimulate learning, collaboration and action.

MoA provides opportunities for architects to work with other industries and communities to be better informed about the places and people for which they are designing.

MoA began in 2006 and as a place where people come to learn about what is currently happening in architecture through exhibitions, events, talks, and public installations. MoA’s programming provides insightful information for both the public and architects alike, linking architecture to contemporary culture to make it accessible to all.

MoA’s family programming, School for Creative Thinkers, draws from nature to teach young people about design solutions. By using ideas around biomimicry with animals, plants and bugs that children are already excited and familiar with, we can share STEAM concepts that give a deeper understanding of our built and natural worlds.



Tree 3:
MoA Treehouses at Kew Competition Tree 3

About Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world class botanic garden and a leader in global conservation and plant and fungal science. Kew is committed to protecting and sharing the wonder of plants and fungi to enable a better world for everyone and to safeguard the future of all life on earth.

Located in Southwest London, Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with unrivalled botanical collections. With a rich tapestry of history and heritage set in a unique landscape, the Arboretum is a scientific treasure trove, vital to Kew’s botanical and conservation research. The 14,000 trees within the Living Collection represents more than 2,000 species, including rare and ancient trees from across the globe.

Kew’s trees are a magnificent living library and the ‘green lungs’ of the Gardens. We would like you to design your treehouse to compliment one of these three beauties – to sit snugly amongst its branches, to celebrate the tree’s natural forms, to be shaded by its canopy and provide a place for visitors to catch a glimpse of Kew’s amazing landscape.

In 2019 RBG Kew received 2.3 million visitors, placing it among the 10 most visited attractions in London and demonstrating our extraordinary connection with visitors.

Within RBG Kew, the Visitor Programmes team curates and produce a varied programme of festivals, exhibitions, and events across the year, which create exciting connections with Kew’s 300 scientists, 150 horticulturalists against the backdrop of its extensive history. Kew regularly works closely with artists and creative partners to animate the Gardens for all our visitors, demonstrating a passion for opportunities and proposals that are unique and unexpected.



Location: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE, UK – south west of London

Kew Gardens Buildings

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Architecture – Selection:

Kew Tree Top Walkway
Kew Gardens Tree Top Walkway London greenery
image : Marks Barfield Architects
Kew Gardens Tree Top Walkway

The Sackler Crossing
Sackler Crossing Kew Gardens, London
image : RBG Kew
The Sackler Crossing Kew Gardens

The Hive Pavilion at Kew Gardens
Design: Wolfgang Buttress with Tristan Simmonds and BDP, Architects
UK Pavilion internal shot at dusk
photograph : Hufton+Crow
The Hive Pavilion at Kew Gardens

New Pavilion Bar and Grill restaurant
Design: Ryder Architecture
Kew Gardens Pavilion Bar and Grill Restaurant, London
photo courtesy of architects office
Kew Gardens Pavilion Bar & Grill Restaurantv

Shirley Sherwood Gallery – Kew Gallery of Botanical Art
Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew London Gardens
photo © Dennis Gilbert
Kew Gardens Gallery

Kew Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives
Design: Edward Cullinan Architects
Kew Gardens Herbarium London building
photo © Tim Soar
Kew Gardens Herbarium

London Architectural Designs

London Architecture Walking Tours

London Architecture

Kew Bridge Road Flats

Comments / photos for the Treehouses at Kew Design Competition Architecture page welcome

The Hive at Kew Gardens by Wolfgang Buttress