In Christchurch as part of their official visit to New Zealand, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today officially opened the city’s new Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre.

Built to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Botanic Gardens, the $16.4 million centre was designed by leading New Zealand architects Patterson Associates and features a multi-purpose function room that seats up to 120 people. The overall design marries white embossed concrete with clean glass panels and plant cell motifs to create a visually striking building that sits at ease within its natural surroundings.

In addition to the function room there will also be an attractive cafe with seating for a further 60 guests.

Vbase will be managing the new café and function room when the centre opens for business in May 2014.

“The striking design and stunning location give the visitor centre a wow factor and we’re certainly very excited about the possibilities it offers to event organisers looking for a special venue for their next function or event,’’ Vbase general manager, Darren Burden, said.

The Botanic Gardens Centre also combines a working nursery, a botanical research herbarium and a permanent exhibition telling the story of Christchurch through plants and gardens.