This Glasshouse Can ‘Bloom’ In Minutes To Give Its Flowers Fresh Air & Sunlight
By Nicole Rodrigues, 30 Jun 2022
A glasshouse in West Sussex blooms just like the flowers that reside within it. Heatherwick Studios’ newest project is a diamond-shaped 1,518 square-foot structure that can unfold itself, creating an open-air structure for the plants inside to get fresh air and sunlight.
The structure is located in the National Trust’s Woolbeding Gardens. It only takes the structure four minutes to unfold and when it does it sits in the garden like a flower blooming for the first time in spring.
Using a hydraulics system, its 10 glass and aluminum “sepals” spread in a circular pattern as sunlight floods the glasshouse. The glasshouse will remain closed on colder days to provide shelter for the subtropical plants.
The glasshouse is the literal jewel of a new garden that has opened, named The Silk Route Garden, which showcases flowers and plants that are native to the Asian and European trade routes. Silk, rosemary, and lavender are among 300 other species that were first traded along the route before being brought back to Britain.
In the glasshouse itself is a rare plant called the Aralia vietnamensis, which, as the name suggests is native to Vietnam and southern China. Alongside it, there are magnolias, banana trees, and palm trees springing to life within the glass walls. Taking visitors on a journey through the different lands that lay across the Silk Route.
Heatherwick took inspiration from the glass terrariums that were used to transport these plants back. Over time, terrariums started to be used to display plants instead and now, the enormous terrarium-like structure will house a whole garden of these exotic plants within it. The glasshouse is open every Thursday and Friday until September 30.
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