How can greenhouse design change architecture?
Few structures are as elegant and sophisticated as greenhouses. Built mostly with simple and linear designs, these minimalist shelters create airy and light-filled spaces that define the indoor climate. Dedicated to growing plants and crops, they are diverse projects that combine programs and systems to emphasize sustainability, education, and conservation. At its core, greenhouses are about experience and discovery.
As Eduardo Souza notes on the history of greenhouse design, large-scale production of greenhouses only became possible after the Industrial Revolution with the availability of mass-produced glass panels. Since then, they have been used to grow food and flowers, forming a microclimate suitable for plant species even in places with severe climates. From ornamental horticulture to ecosystem awareness, modern greenhouses are made around living collections. But they can also influence new approaches to architecture through light, structure and sustainability. In turn, they can become learning environments to promote education about the connections between climate and architecture.
The Santa Monica Greenhouse is the third greenhouse designed in collaboration with the Cactus Store in Los Angeles. It is located next to Bergamont Station in a large industrial complex that is being converted into a retail and office district. The project is linked to the client’s office building, housed in a former warehouse, and houses his private specimens and extensive cactus and succulent collection.
This project has three phases. The first was rebuilding her old house. The team made some cost calculations and proposed building a new house with half the volume and no compromises. The greenhouse was placed on the roof for a number of reasons: not to spoil the view from the house, to save on the cost of building the foundation, to use the house’s residual heat and to gain access to the greenhouse.
The new pavilion in the Grüningen Botanical Garden is strongly related to its context. The design was inspired by the surrounding forest, not the built environment. Both the design language and the structural concept are borrowed from nature. The pavilion is designed to harmonize with and extend the forest. The shape was developed using Voronoi tessellation, also known as natural neighbor interpolation.
During the pandemic, Ana, a botany enthusiast specializing in orchids, takes a gamble on her hobby: greenhouse orchids, and commissions the design team to create a greenhouse that doubles as a display space. The proposal is a transparent, transportable, modifiable prototype that creates the necessary climate for orchids to survive. Two greenhouses will be made, one for display and the other for flowering.
GLOBAL FLORA reimagines how the design of a sustainable greenhouse can enhance global interdisciplinary science education and deepen public understanding of nature. The botanical facility Global Flora extends the vision of Dr. Margaret Ferguson in 1920, who advocated plant biology as a central part of science education and encouraged students to “listen” to plants and learn through hands-on interdisciplinary experiences.
Walls and fences are typically used to separate people and areas, but at the Desert Botanical Garden an unusual set of structures actually brought people together. The team combined wood, concrete, steel, stone and block to create a variety of richly textured and highly functional partitions that both physically divide and visually connect open spaces. The Garden also needed a means to separate the “Front of House” and “Back of House” operations at the Horticultural Center.
Desert City is a celebration of xerophytic plants and the production of an entire culture of interests and events around them. The project proposes an educational, sustainable and ecological complex where activities overlap, ranging from the exhibition, cultivation and breeding of cacti from all over the world in a large garden and greenhouse, to a series of leisure activities such as small presentations Conferences, workshops or exhibitions.
Located across the UK and abroad, Maggie’s Centers are designed to provide a welcoming ‘home from home’ – a place of refuge where people affected by cancer can find emotional and practical support. Inspired by Maggie Keswick Jenck’s design for a new way of care, they place great emphasis on the power of architecture to lift spirits and support the therapy process. The Manchester Center design aims to create a homely atmosphere in a garden setting.
Dongmaoku, a former warehouse campus in Shenyang, is the first generation of logistics facilities in mainland China to be built since the Korean War era. With over 30 individual warehouses, Dongmaoku has significant value for studying the typology of logistic buildings in modern China. The design team implemented a greenhouse garden, and a new typology appeared. The result is that both warehouses have a spatial sequence with a garden at the beginning.