Longwood Reimagined on schedule

You are currently viewing Longwood Reimagined on schedule
An overhead view of how Longwood Reimagined will appear once finished. (All renderings courtesy of Bancroft Construction.)

Longwood Gardens revitalization project Longwood Reimagined, which began in 2021, is on schedule to be finished by the fall of 2024.

There were some concerns about meeting that anticipated completion date, but things are back on track now, according to Greg Sawka, president and CEO of Bancroft Construction, the general contractor for the project,

A look at the interior of the new conservatory under construction at Longwood Gardens.

Sawka said during the lunch portion of a hard hat press tour of the work that some materials were hard to come by at times. He said a slowdown in getting electrical supplies and equipment last year was most worrisome, but “All critical components are now in. I wasn’t so confident last year,” he said.

Longwood Reimagined is Bancroft’s largest project to date, Sawka said. The company is working 250 workers per day representing anywhere from 50-60 various trades.

Longwood announced the project in February of 2021 with much anticipation and excitement. A video with President and CEO Paul Redman accompanying the original announcement can be found here.

A rendering of the new West Conservatory.

In that video, Redman said the project is the largest, most massive, and complicated project that Longwood has ever embarked upon. There are six new buildings, a renovation of others, and a rearranging of a few pathways over the 17-acre property.

Among the new structures is a third conservatory. But unlike the East and Main conservatories that are constructed with masonry, the new West Conservatory is all glass with curved metal supports. This allows more pure daylight to enter the building. There are “bird dots” on the windows to prevent birds from crashing into the glass.

And the interior will have walkways over pools giving visitors a feeling that they’re on a boardwalk or that the entire building is floating on water, said Michael Manfredi of the architectural firm Weiss/Manfredi. Manfredi also said the new building will be the largest stand-alone conservatory in North America.

A rendering of the Bonsai Courtyard.

Other parts of the $250 million project include moving the Cascade Garden and creating a new Bonsai Courtyard that will help frame the Waterlily Court. There will also be a new education and administration building called The Grove, with enough windows to reduce the need for artificial light, and a new restaurant and event space.

In keeping with Longwood’s culture of conservation and sustainability, 130 geothermal wells have been dug to a depth of 350 feet, and 10 earth ducts are being installed to allow for passive heating and cooling for both people and the plants. There will also be new plantings around the West Conservatory and The Grove. Those plantings include 300 trees, 670 shrubs, and some 10,000 perennials.

A rendering of the new restaurant.

But what will all this mean to Longwood’s visitors?

According to Public Relations Officer and Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications Patricia Evans, a lot.

“They will have a brand new, 32,000 square foot conservatory to explore. They will have revitalized display areas for our bonsai collection, so we’ll be able to display more than ever. Our waterlily area will be revamped. We’ll have a new restaurant. We’ll have an event space that we’ve never had before for private events, and they’ll have new experiences as they watch the fountain and fireworks shows,” she said.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)



Leave a Reply