Millennium Seed Bank Project

Client: Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
Project Value: £86 million
Location: Kew, London, UK

Insight International provided programme and project management to RBG Kew for this flagship £86million Millennium Project. The projects aim is the conservation of seed samples from some 25,000 species by the year 2010.

The structure comprised repeated barrel-vaulted single-storey elements within which was set a public winter garden and below which an extensive long-term seed storage facility, the Seed Bank, was located. The Seed Bank was conceived as an underground vault with a high level of security and supporting engineering services to maintain the very low temperatures and humidity levels required for seed storage.The flexibility permitted by the structure and fabric of the building allowed for whole zones to be re-fitted or repaired whilst critical activities remained undisturbed.

We set up the project management framework. The project teams comprised science, education/interpretation, business, information systems and building. Our responsibility included drawing up and implementing a suitable management structure; collating and managing the £80million cash flow analysis; devising the project risk management strategy; and, with the Project Director, obtaining financial approval from the Kew Trustees, reporting to financial backers (including the Millennium Commission and Wellcome Trust), ensuring that all contract deliverables were complied with, and actively monitoring the Strategic Master Programme, thereby ensuring key decisions were taken to meet the programme.

(Photography provided by Stanton Williams Architects).