Submitted by WA Contents

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets "stand-alone" greenhouse typology with Global Flora

United States Architecture News - Jul 21, 2021 - 11:36   1590 views

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Boston-based architecture practice Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd. has reinterpreted "stand-alone" greenhouse typology with the Global Flora Conservatory at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, United States.

The project was realized by Kennedy & Violich Architecture in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team at Wellesley College led by Kristina Jones, Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanic Gardens, and Cathy Summa, a Professor of Geoscience and Director of the Wellesley College Science Center.

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Emerging as a reinterpretation of a greenhouse, the project is interlinked and synergistic set of wet and dry biomes that are heated and cooled using renewable resources.

The design team integrated a curved building form that follows the east-west sun path and engages the hillside topography of the Wellesley Campus. 

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

The building also contains the iconic Durant Camellia tree, over 140 years old, which is exhibited in a transparent pavilion linked with the new facility. 

The new Global Flora is one of the first public conservatories in North America that is clad with a transparent Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) building skin. 

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Through its transparent skin, the building enables the direct visual comparison and study of plant form across biomes, advancing public education and scientific research on plant adaptation and the ecology of climate change.

"Global Flora builds on the rich history of botanical education and research at Wellesley College established in the 1920s by Dr. Margaret Ferguson, who advocated for interdisciplinary botanical education as a Center for the College’s intellectual life," said Kristina Jones, Ph.D.

"The new space will be an amazing platform for student engagement with nature and with the systems thinking that underpins progress in sustainability."

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

The architecture of the building integrates innovative passive and active sustainable systems to meet the Net Zero Water criteria of the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous contemporary criteria for measuring sustainable design. 

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

The elegant, curved form of the Global Flora Conservatory follows the east-west arc of the sun to maximize solar heat gain in winter which is captured through the thermal mass of a wall.  

In summer, the architecture’s environmentally responsive ETFE skin allows the biomes to be cooled entirely through natural ventilation.

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

"The Global Flora project is the first contemporary Conservatory that is designed in vertical section," said architect Sheila Kennedy, FAIA, a Principal of KVA Matx.

"The need to accommodate different tree heights produces a dynamic and varying interior space which works together with the configured ground of the site’s topography. This offers diverse spatial experiences of plant form that are slowly revealed as people move through the biomes," Kennedy added.

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

The Global Flora project is used for public education and scientific research. To meet this criteria, its design is enhanced by an Interactive Sensor Platform integrated into the Conservatory design that provides real-time air, water, soil, and energy data, expanding knowledge of natural and architectural systems and public access to the collection for on-site and online users around the world.

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

The project was completed in 2020 and built by Turner Construction and supported by the generosity of Wellesley College Trustee Mary White

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Floor plan

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Cross section

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Long section

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Climate Axonometric

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Global Outreach and Collaboration

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Research Opportunites

Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets

Data Sensor Tracking

Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd. (KVA Matx) is an internationally recognized design practice that works at the intersection of architecture, natural ecology, digital networks, and emerging public needs. 

The firm is led by Principals Sheila Kennedy, FAIA, and Juan Frano Violich, FAIA.

Project facts

Project name: Global Flora Conservatory

Location: Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA

Design Team:

Architect: Kennedy & Violich Architecture
Managing Principal: Frano Violich, FAIA
Principal Consulting on Design: Sheila Kennedy, FAIA
Project Architect: Ben Widger, AIA
Project Designers: Shawna Meyer, AIA LEED AP, Kyle Altman, Bob White, Nick Johnson, Daniel Sebaldt, Michael Bennet, Diana Tomova, Peteris Lazovskis, Mark Bavoso, Lynced Torres, Noam Saragosti

Structural, MEP & Envelope Engineering: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, PC
Civil Engineer: Nitsch Inc.
Landscape Architect: Andropogon Associates, Ltd.
Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
Code Consultant: Jensen Hughes Associates Inc.
Climate Consultant: Transsolar
KlimaEngineering
Exhibit Consultant: Small Design Firm
Energy Consultant: ReVision Energy

All images © KVA 

> via KVA