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Kennedy & Violich Architecture reinterprets "stand-alone" greenhouse typology with Global Flora
United States Architecture News - Jul 21, 2021 - 11:36 2673 views
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
"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.
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.
Global Outreach and Collaboration
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 name: Global Flora Conservatory
Location: Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA
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
Exhibit Consultant: Small Design Firm
Energy Consultant: ReVision Energy
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