On Mother’s Day we had a family day out at Kew Gardens. I was originally intending to post about the older glasshouse structures until I this one stopped me in my tracks! This is the Davies Alpine House, built in 2006, it’s walls of glass are not just fantastically beautiful, they are also very cleverly designed to provide the perfect climate for the plants on display. The glasshouse is set at the entrance to the Rock Gardens providing a wonderful contrast between the modern glass and old rock walls. Pure magic 🙂
“The Davies Alpine House was designed to create the cool, dry and windy conditions that alpine plants favour, without using energy-intensive air-conditioning and wind pumps. Its architects employed traditional practices and the latest technology to achieve this.
How the glasshouse works
Although the glasshouse is only 16 metres (50 feet) long, its roof reaches ten metres (33 feet) high. This creates a stack effect that draws in cool air through permanent openings on either side and releases warm air through vents in the roof. Meanwhile, a fan blows air through a concrete labyrinth beneath the ground. The air cools on its convoluted journey and is released into the glasshouse through steel pipes.
The panes of glass are 12mm thick and have a low iron content which allows over 90 per cent of light through. Meanwhile, fan-like shades on the east and west sides of the glasshouse protect plants from the most intense heat of the summer sun.”