< Commissions

Public Realm: ‘The Green & The Gardens’ by Ryan Gander OBE


To create new green public space at the heart of CBC for all users: employees, patients and visitors. Located to the west of Addenbrooke’s Hospital between the new Royal Papworth Hospital and Astrazeneca, The Green & The Gardens is a set of spaces for relaxation and calm, and to inspire thriving new relationships and ideas between current and future CBC organisations.  To achieve this,  and in line with the campus’ ethos of exemplar collaboration, international concept artist, Ryan Gander, and leading landscape designer, Gillespies, were commissioned right at the start of the process to create this vision, and then develop the landscape design and all its features (routeways, planting, street furniture, lighting and sculpture) as one holistic public art and landscape commission. 

The vision for The Green & The Gardens in Ryan’s own words:

“If you think back through time, across England’s towns and villages there used to be common ground for all; a common place to walk around, and for personal and communal recreation.


My vision is to make the new public space reminiscent of that: a common ground for all, a level playing field for everyone to play on, a space for all CBC users to feel is theirs and to share together.


It is a vision for a green space at the heart of CBC that pulls England’s rural countryside into the campus. A vision to establish a strong natural landscape, rich in colour and biodiverse appeal, to act as a green open space resource for the overall campus, a pleasant outlook and green front door. Nature, intimacy, and human scale combine into one holistic space to discover, explore, wonder, relax, be alone and together; for private conversations and public events. An adventure playground for the mind.”

"It’s an adventure playground for the mind."


The circular green space where all CBC users may come to socialise and relax. An open shared area intended to support an expanding, dynamic community where it may come together. Bounded by planting and seating, it is linked by pedestrian, cycle and guided bus routes to enable all regular users and visitors to access it. It is a flexible space for both individuals to find calm and at other times for community events and activities. All campus stakeholders are encouraged to work together to create new activities throughout the year, to bring users together in inspiring ways. Big picnics, fitness and wellbeing classes, food and drink festivals, talks and events. It is a space for your ideas. If you are interested in using The Green for an activity/event, please visit here – https://cambridge-biomedical.com/amenities/


An area of more intimate green spaces for individuals and groups to relax, escape or find inspiration. The Gardens combine wildflower planting, orchard trees as part of more sheltered and enclosed areas, linked with smaller pathways, lighting and sculpture.

Both The Green & The Gardens act as rain gardens, an exciting design that prioritises green landscaping to capture the rainwater runoff from buildings, pavements and other hard surfaces and then temporarily store, clean and slowly release that water back into the soil or drainage system, using the power of plants and soils. They form part of the sites Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) strategy, where diverse planting will also help create beautiful, multifunctional areas, rich in biodiversity throughout this urban campus of large buildings and infrastructure.

The Green & The Gardens traverse a man-made ditch within the campus that connects to Hobson’s Brook beyond the campus boundary to the west; a man-made watercourse (chalk stream) which is designated as an important City Wildlife Site. In order to protect the ditch, a solution was agreed with the County Council which required the 100% culverting of the ditch. The creation of The Green & The Gardens as rain gardens is central to this strategy.