RHS Harlow Carr set to start work on new bridge
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Last updated Jul 5, 2021
The Thaliana Bridge plans for RHS Harlow Carr.

RHS Harlow Carr is set to start work building a new bridge later this year, which has been made possible thanks to the estate of a key supporter.

The Thaliana Bridge will cross the Queen Mother’s Lake at the south end of the gardens to improve access and provide new routes for visitors.

Dr Rachel Leech, whose research into the plant Arabidopsis thaliana inspired the design of the bridge, left money to the RHS as part of her will.

Arabidopsis thaliana, also known as the thale cress or mouse-ear cress, has a small genome of approximately 135 megabase pairs and it was the first plant to have its genomes fully sequenced. This meant it became a model organism for other research programmes.

Gagarin Studio and DP Squared Engineers are behind the project, the same team that recently built a footbridge for Leeds Climate Innovation District.

Work on the Thalina Bridge is expected to start in autumn 2021.


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It will be 21 metres long and three metres wide, made from steel and pre-weathered larch cladding.

Liz Thwaite, head of site at RHS Harlow Carr, said:

“The new bridge is part of our overall masterplan for the RHS Harlow Carr site, and will improve the flow of people and the overall visitor experience.

“We’re so grateful that Dr Leech’s estate are supporting the project and we’re delighted to be working with Gagarin Studio and DP Squared to design and name the bridge in celebration of this pioneering plant science research.”

Gagarin Studio director, Steve Gittner said:

“The paired curving forms of the bridge not only reflect the site-specific routes and orientation but also refers to the chromosomes of Arabidopsis thaliana.

“The rear curved element forms a back screen, deliberately neutral and simple in appearance, whilst the front balustrade facing the lake and gardens beyond is a sculptural element formed in a sequence of weathered steel fins and faces which vary in density and represent the sequenced RDA of the Arabadopsis Thaliana chromosome.”


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