• Sharon Ndalilah

New York Botanical Garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Glasshouse Temporary Closed for Renovation

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will partially close to undergo renovation amounting to $ 17.7 million, to restore its palm dome, one of the 11 biotic communities of the historic greenhouse and also refurbish two of its galleries that feature - lowland rain forest plants and special exhibitions.


The renovation is set to begin 29th of April 2019 and come to close on 31st May 2020. During this period, most of the plants in the palm dome will be safeguarded under an enclosed weather-proof barrier purposed to keep the plants climatized (under the comfort of a specific climate condition), while some of the more responsive specimen in the 1902 Victorian-style Conservatory will be transplanted to temporary homes. While these plans will be taking place, visitors will be allowed to have a 360-degree view of images of the palm dome - by use of an interactive mobile application which was produced in partnership with the Bloomberg Philanthropies.


Proving to be a World of Plants, The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory showcases astonishing magical works of the Garden’s living collections in: luxuriant tropical forests, cactus-filled deserts, curated exhibit of world-wide palms, aquatic as well as carnivorous plants and much more. The Conservatory also holds NYBG’s seasonal exhibitions with different themes such as: themed flower shows that reveal the unique connections between plants and culture.


The garden pursues its mission as a museum of living plant collections, perfectly arranged in their homes (gardens and landscapes) across its National Historic Landmark site; through its education programs in horticulture and plant science, as well as a wide range of researching programs of the International Plant Science Center.

The Garden was inspired by an 1888 visit to the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, near London, after which botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife Elizabeth, determined to have one of the world’s greatest gardens. They launched a public campaign to have the institution established as a private, non – profit corporation in collaboration with New York City and the state.

The structure, which has faced some serious conservation challenges over the years will remain open and on function during the Enid Haupt Conservatory renovation, (as a matter of fact, NYBG has plans to have its 2019 exhibition – devoted to the Brazilian Modernist landscape architect Roberto Burles Marx). Amongst its many goals, NYBG’s main goal of protecting and preserving plants through basic and applied research seems to be put to practice quite well since back in the days. With the current renovation at the Enid Haupt Conservatory, much planning and coordination between the horticulture and architectural department is expected. “Renovations are always massively complex”, says Todd Forrest, the NYBG’s Arthur Ross vice president for horticulture and living collections -overseeing the current conservation project, “the conservatory is a living machine - much more than a building which requires coordination between the horticulture and architectural departments, and routine maintenance”.


Jan Hird Pokorny Associates and Silman Structural Engineers are in charge of the project, which is being supported by the LuEsther T, Mertz Charitable Trust and the state, and the New York City.

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