Nolen Glasshouses, New York Botanical Garden

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Bronx, New York
New York Botanical Garden
47,000 SF
2006 Build New York Award - Best New Project, General Building Contractors of New York State
2006 American Architecture Award, The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design
Award of Merit, Systems and Technology, New York Construction News Best of 2005 Awards

The New York Botanical Gardens asked Mitchell Giurgola to design an economical, highly functional, primarily non-public greenhouse and headhouse facility that could provide a wide range of growing conditions to support an extremely diverse plant collection. To accommodate over 18,000 species, our design conceived of nearly an acre of plant growing space, seven miles of heating pipes, and eight different climate zones—each with its own computer-automated controls for shading, ventilation, heat retention, and humidification. The eight zones are connected on the north side by a wide corridor with access to the horticultural work area in the “headhouse.”

The greatest challenges of the project related to its beautiful but narrow and constrained site. Our goal was to carefully integrate the large new modern complex into the rolling terrain of rock outcroppings, specimen trees and lawns—and, in so doing, create a new destination on the visitor trail while accommodating the NYBG’s strict programmatic requirements.