Tate St. Ives Case Study


To refurbish and extend Tate St Ives, incorporating a bespoke green roof system enhancing aesthetics and managing water runoff, within a challenging coastal environment.


The challenge

Tate St Ives faced multifaceted challenges during its expansion to better serve the quarter of a million annual visitors. Key issues included managing potential excess water runoff from the green roof, navigating limited access due to narrow roads for material delivery, and ensuring the completed green roof complemented the coastal environment aesthetically.

The refurbishment and extension has enabled us to increase our visitor capacity and create a stunning outdoor space to enjoy. The Eco Green Roofs team worked proactively to ensure that the green roof would be in-keeping with the surrounding landscape. The inclusion of coastal plants native to the local area has really helped to merge the new Tate St Ives into the existing cliffside and coastal landscape – which was a key design criterion for the new gallery.

Head of Business and Operations at Tate St Ives


What was involved

The project comprised an extensive refurbishment of the existing gallery and the addition of a 1,320sqm extension to introduce new gallery spaces, education facilities, and offices. EGR took a hands-on approach from the initial design stage, identifying and addressing potential challenges, particularly focusing on integrating the building with its coastal surroundings.


The solution

EGR’s innovative Green Roof System became the centerpiece of the solution, featuring a pathway that seamlessly connects the new structure to the cliff and beach. The choice of coastal plants native to the area, along with a bespoke, scientifically engineered substrate, ensured the roof’s vegetation thrived and blended with the local landscape. To address water management, EGR specified a drainage system that prevented substrate spillage while effectively managing runoff, preserving the building’s exterior aesthetics. Overcoming logistical hurdles, EGR implemented a ‘just in time’ delivery strategy, coordinating material storage at a local rugby club car park and ensuring timely site delivery.

The results

The Tate St Ives project successfully enhanced the gallery’s visitor capacity and aesthetic appeal, incorporating an environmentally sympathetic green roof that addressed the site’s specific challenges. The strategic approach to design, plant selection, and logistics resulted in a green roof that not only managed water runoff efficiently but also harmonised with the surrounding coastal scenery, marking a significant contribution to the gallery’s integration with its natural environment.

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