Building Blocks Series 12: The Great Glasshouse

18 Oct

Our next iconic building in our Building Blocks series may be one you have visited, nestled in the heart of the beautiful Welsh countryside lies The Great Glasshouse.

Source Wikimedia Commons

Source Wikimedia Commons

At first glance this may not seem such a remarkable structure until you learn more about it.

Let’s start with a few facts and figures.

  • It has the accolade of being the largest single span Glasshouse in the world, measuring 110m by 60m
  • The elliptical glass dome covers 4500 square metres
  • There are 785 panes of glass each measuring 4 by 1.5m. The glass panes consist of two 9mm thick sheets of glass with a laminated film sandwiched in between.
  • The dome itself is tilted by 7 degrees from its axis, facing south to allow as much sunlight as possible to hit it.
Source Wikimedia Commons

Source Wikimedia Commons

So, already it sounds an impressive well designed building by the architects, Lord Norman Foster and Partners, but what is it for?

The Glasshouse is a huge green house divided in to five regions of the world dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered plants throughout the word. Climate control prevents the Glasshouse from falling below 9 degrees Celsius, with fans mounted around the building to simulate natural conditions. A computer controls 147 vents to help maintain the natural conditions.

A lot of major technology has been implemented to ensure the survival and flourishing of the 432 genera or groups of plants that inhabit it.

Source Wikimedia Commons

Source Wikimedia Commons

The Great Glasshouse opened in May 2000 and is the most visited botanical garden in Wales.

So it sounds like a great place to aim to visit and we would be interested to hear about your experience if you have been to the Glasshouse.


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