Conservatories and other long and dignified tradition.

Conservatories and other glass structures have evolved from a long and dignified tradition. Those traditional inspirations form the bulwark of our industry. Yet, by comparison with other building styles, such as stone, brick, timber, concrete, iron and steel, glass as structure is in its relative infancy — thousands of years compared with a handful of decades. So we make it our business to roam the world, enjoying the traditional icons and watching for the best of the new generations of great architects, designers, builders and manufacturers committed to inspiring and functional glass innovations. Some of those works are in the public arena. Some are private, and some are even our competitors. No matter. We are happy to feature world-best practice here on our Global Inspirations page.

The Buffalo & Erie County Conservatory, New York USA, took three years to build from 1897-99 at a cost of $130,000. It is part of a 156-acre (63-hectare) botanical garden. The architects and builders were Frederick Lord, a former carpenter, and his business partner son-in-law William Burnham. This conservatory was one of the largest in the USA at the time. Both the conservatory and the botanic garden still operate with active programs of conservation, scientific investigation and public interest. In that sense the conservatory fulfils a traditional function of plant display. It is described by its public service managers, as “the horticultural hub of western New York”, and its 20,000 horticultural specimens are part of a movement to “sustain the wonders of Earth’s natural systems to ensure diverse plant life for future generations.” This is a very traditional application of the term ‘conservatory’ on a grand scale. (Image source: Wiki public)