© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

Global Flora Conservatory // Kennedy & Violich Architecture

Wellesley, MA, United States

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Text description provided by the architects.

The GLOBAL FLORA Conservatory reimagines how the design of a sustainable greenhouse can enhance global interdisciplinary science education and deepen a public understanding of nature. Global Flora houses Wellesley College’s pre-eminent global plant collection in Dry and Tropical biomes. The iconic Durant Camellia tree, over 140 years old, is housed in a seasonal pavilion that connects with the new facility.

Global Flora demonstrates how design aesthetics integrated with net-zero building performance can improve the overall sustainability of a building’s larger context.

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

Its curved form follows the east-west arc of the sun to maximize solar irradiance for the plants. The need to accommodate different tree heights produces a dynamic and varying interior space which works with the site’s natural topography. Instead of an artificially ‘flat’ ground, topographically diverse living soils supports flexible public programs, from pop-up research labs, places for public school classrooms, ‘carrels’ for plant study to areas for reading, relaxation, and musical performances.

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

The translucent ETFE partition between biomes enables the direct visual comparison of plant form between climate biomes.The building envelope integrates innovative passive and active sustainable systems to create a new model for sustainable greenhouse enclosures. Compared to glass, the double-layer ETFE skin improves light quality, reduces heat loss, and lightens the building structure.

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

In winter, low daylight passes through the skin and warms the concrete-block north wall, lowering overnight energy needs. In summer, automated vents and solar curtains allow the envelope to ‘breathe’, eliminating the need for active air conditioning.An open-source Interactive Sensor Platform allows researchers to share real-time data from plants, soil, air, and water.

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

With data available to both public schools and international research universities, Global Flora is a free and public botany lab and ‘museum’ that emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship to current and future generations on-site and online..

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

© Kennedy & Violich Architecture

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