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Longwood Reimagined

Longwood Reimagined text

Aerial design view of Longwood Reimagined West Conservatory project

Blending the Visionary and the Historic

Our legacy of innovation continues as we embark on the most ambitious expansion, reimagination, and preservation of our Conservatory and surrounding landscape in a century.

For more than 115 years, we have harmoniously blended art and science to create a horticulture experience of unparalleled splendor. With the realization of Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience—a sweeping reimagination of 17 acres of our Conservatory and grounds, opening in fall 2024—we are honored to enhance, steward, and preserve one of the world’s most important, most beautiful collections of gardens and glasshouses.

Stunning new buildings, wondrous new indoor and outdoor gardens, surprising new guest experiences, and much more await. We’re expanding our grounds, connecting them from east to west in a beautiful, unified journey of lush, formal gardens to open meadows to winding paths to breathtaking Brandywine Valley vistas. We’re preserving and enhancing our cherished spaces to better showcase and grow our outstanding collections. We’re reflecting our founder’s vision and embodying our mission to create a world apart accessible to all for the celebration and enjoyment of horticulture. We’re entering our next chapter ... with you.

Longwood remains open throughout the project and continues to be a world apart filled with memorable moments and beautiful experiences. Stay tuned for more about Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience along the way.

Go Inside the Project

Project Highlights: Journey through Innovation

West Conservatory

Built on the great 19th century tradition of glasshouses and enhanced with new, sustainable technologies, our new 32,000-square-foot West Conservatory is the centerpiece and largest component of the project. Like many of Longwood’s renowned features, it has a close relationship with water and seamlessly integrates the old with the new. Its asymmetrical peaks will rise from a pool on which the entire building will seemingly float, while its islands of interior Mediterranean-inspired gardens will be set amid pools, canals, and fountains in an exquisite tapestry-like design.

Cascade Garden

We’re making history by relocating, reconstructing, and preserving our prized Cascade Garden—the only design in North America by acclaimed Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. A historic garden has never been moved as a whole and preserved in this way, and we are honored to work with a team of scholars, landscape architects, preservation experts, and the Burle Marx Landscape Design Studio while doing so. This 3,800-square-foot custom-built, stand-alone jewel box will allow the plants more room to continue to grow and flourish.

Bonsai Courtyard

We’re establishing a new outdoor Bonsai Courtyard for what will soon become one of North America’s most outstanding bonsai collections. Located beside the West Conservatory, this outdoor gallery space will artfully showcase our small yet mighty specimens—many of which are more than a century old—allowing many more to be on display at one time, fulfilling our guests’ enduring fascination for these gorgeously graceful plants.

Waterlily Court

Designed by renowned landscape architect Sir Peter Shepheard in 1989, our beloved Waterlily Court will be renewed and enhanced. Framed by our new Bonsai Courtyard, this refreshed aquatic garden will be redefined as an outdoor room and further strengthened as a central destination, while serving as a gateway to the new West Conservatory and relocated Cascade Garden.

New Landscapes

The creation of new, imaginative outdoor pathways and vistas will not only expand and connect our Conservatory grounds from east to west, but also celebrate the beauty of the Brandywine Valley along the way. Think open meadows, a sweeping terrace leading toward a stand of hundred-year-old sycamores we have purposefully saved and worked into the landscape, a shaded promenade, and infinite viewpoints from which guests may take in the spectacular seasonal vistas for which our region is so deservedly known.

Restaurant & Event Spaces

Carved into the topography facing the Main Fountain Garden, a new public restaurant and private event space will overlook the spectacular fountain displays beyond. From its series of trellis-like ceiling vaults and architectural elements that echo the forms of the Main Fountain Garden, right down to its bespoke furniture crafted with reclaimed wood from Longwood trees, every detail of this remarkable space will delight, entertain, and inspire.

Administration Building

A refurbished and expanded administration building with new state-of-the-art classrooms and library, virtual learning studios, and staff offices will become a central hub for our community of staff, students, and volunteers ... as well as a place of learning, growth, and discovery for all. Above all else, the new administration building expands our reach in delivering our mission and serving our greater community.

Orchid House

As part of the initial phase of transforming the area, our beloved century-old Orchid House will be preserved and expanded to a gallery-like space in which guests will find themselves surrounded by hundreds of orchids. The restoration project will result in a new glass roof, new and restored display cases, restored bronze windows, custom frame trellises, and more … all resulting in more immersive display opportunities.

The Project Team

About WEISS/MANFREDI

WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism is a multidisciplinary design practice based in New York City. Founded by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, the firm is known for the strategic engagement of architecture and site and recognizes the critical dialogue between enclosed and open spaces, between new and existing structures, and between building and city. Notable past projects include the Seattle Art Museum: Olympic Sculpture Park, the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, and Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park. The firm’s current work includes the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India, the Artis—Naples Baker Museum and Cultural Campus, and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. Most recently, the firm was selected through an international competition to reimagine the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum in Los Angeles.

The firm has won numerous awards, including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal for Architecture, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, the AIA President’s Award, the Academy Award for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the International Veronica Rudge Green Prize for Urban Design. They have also been named one of North America’s “Emerging Voices” by the Architectural League of New York, received the New York City AIA Gold Medal of Honor, and were inducted into the National Academy of Design. Michael Manfredi is a Senior Critic at Harvard University and Marion Weiss is the Graham Chair Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. For more information visit weissmanfredi.com.

About Reed Hilderbrand

Reed Hilderbrand is the award-winning landscape architecture practice founded by Douglas Reed and Gary Hilderbrand. The firm’s approach seeks to connect daily life with the visible systems of nature as well as the underlying patterns of culture. Recognized with more than 80 design awards, the practice is known for its great sensitivity to place and record of design excellence in collaboration with mission-driven organizations, institutions, communities, and individuals.

Among Reed Hilderbrand’s completed works are The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts; the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art; and the Leventritt Shrub and Vine Garden at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts. Notable works in progress include commissions for Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Storm King Art Center, Tanglewood Music Center, and the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The Architectural League of New York named Reed Hilderbrand one of North America’s “Emerging Voices” in 2005. Douglas Reed and Gary Hilderbrand are each recipients of the ASLA Design Medal, awarded in 2019 and 2017, respectively. ASLA named Reed Hilderbrand Firm of the Year in 2013. For more information visit reedhilderbrand.com.

About Bancroft Construction Company

Bancroft Construction is an award-winning, Mid-Atlantic construction management firm servicing clients throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. For more than 45 years, Bancroft has taken great pride in building not only physical structures, but also long-standing relationships. Bancroft commits to a partnership approach for all projects that it manages—from major developments to revitalizing world-renowned cultural landmarks. Recently, Bancroft proudly managed the multiple award-winning revitalization of Longwood Gardens’ Main Fountain Garden. Centered around the idea of bettering our community, Bancroft assists our clients with their projects from concept to completion and offers construction-based solutions in regard to program management, estimating services, construction management, owner’s representation, and virtual design and construction, as well as sustainability methods and materials. For more information visit bancroftconstruction.com.

Longwood Reimagined begins March 1, 2021. Our grand Conservatory display spaces will remain open throughout the project, with special pop up displays from our Bonsai and Orchid collections for guests to enjoy.

The western part of the Conservatory will be closed, including the Mediterranean Garden, Palm House, Bonsai Display, Estate Fruit Houses, Fern Passage, Cascade Garden, Rose House, and Tropical Terrace.