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- Category: A
- Group Category Details: A
- (see NOTES)
- Date Added: 04/06/2003
- Local Authority: Edinburgh
- Planning Authority: Edinburgh
- Burgh: Edinburgh
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 24696 75491
- Coordinates: 324696, 675491
G A H Pearce, architect to Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Scotland, 1967 (see Notes). 420 ft long greenhouse on sloping site with unattached wing to NW connecting with 1854 Palm House; basement to E end of main greenhouse. Sloping sides and pitched roof; steel frame, aluminium alloy glazing bars and doors, and glass. Main structure suspended on steel cables from an external tetrahedral lattice framework of inter-linked 3 inch diameter steel tubes which project upwards from the eaves; main tubes interlaced by thin rods. Concrete base. Exposed basement to centre with large windows between fin-shaped concrete piers to N and S. Battered concrete-clad wall to E. Entrances to gable ends with aluminium glazed doors and flat rectangular canopies. Deck-access to E end and N; external concrete staircase to N from basement to main level with large rectangular canopy.
INTERIOR: main greenhouse divided into 5 sections by steel and glass partitions; central temperate section with exposed basement and concrete footbridge at main-floor level across N side.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with Head Gardener's Cottage, Inverleith House, 1858 Palm House and 1834 Palm Stove, Linnaeus Monument, Caledonian Horticultural Society Hall, and the Laboratory and Lecture Hall Buildings at 20a Inverleith Row. The Royal Botanic Garden is included in the Inventory Of Gardens And Designed Landscapes In Scotland, Site Number 216.
The innovative design of the greenhouse was largely due to the Curator of the garden, Dr E.E. Kemp, who insisted that the supporting structure was to be kept entirely on the outside of the greenhouse, thereby allowing the maximum amount of light in, and creating a totally unimpeded interior space. According to Fletcher and Brown, "The building of these houses was the most important event in the annals of glasshouse construction since the nineteenth century works of Joseph Paxton and the construction of the Kew Palm House". The exposed basement at the centre allows tall trees to be grown. The architect, G A H Pearce, was assisted by J Johnson. The structural engineers were L R Creasy and J W Walley, and the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers were A D McDougall and T Dowie. The greenhouse cost #263,000 to build, which, as the authorities were eager to point out, was only slightly more than it would have cost to have the old Edwardian greenhouses repaired.
Plans in the NMRS, ref. PSA/R/95/3-9P. THE SCOTSMAN, 9th February 1965; 4th July 1966; 26th October 1967. BUILDING INDUSTRIES (periodical), March 1965 and March 1967. PARK ADMINISTRATION, January 1968, Volume 33, No1. COUNTRY LIFE, 28th February 1974, pp42-44. Fletcher and Brown, THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN, EDINBURGH 1670-1970 (1970), pp263-266. Glendinning, MacInnes and MacKechnie, A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE (1996), pp465-6.
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