Lucile Halsell Conservatory - San Antonio Botanical Gardens
San Antonio, Texas
This architectural wonder houses plants from all over the world. Plants from alpine regions to equatorial rainforests are housed in individual glass buildings tucked into the earth. These buildings are arranged around a sunken courtyard and tropical lagoon filled with aquatic plants. Specialty collections include alpine plants, epiphyte display, desert plants, equatorial tropicals, palms and cycads, tropical fruits, ferns and aroids, insectivours, and aquatic plants. Each group is housed in its own climate controlled environment. These environments range from the 65 foot tall fog-enshrouded forest of palms to the wardian style alpine display.
As visitors enter they go underground through a short tunnel. Next they enter the bright entrance pavilion. From this roofless area they again go through a darkened tunnel-like area. The next room, the Exhibition Hall, explodes with light and color from the orchids, bromeliads, and other epiphytes. This light/dark theme is continuously used from the shade of the arcades to the brightness of each room, the curved stairs to the outside, and the tunnel that leads into the fern room.
All of the rooms are sunk into the ground and have a glass roof beginning at about 18 feet above the floor level. The fern room is actually 23 feet below the surface. This design is possible due to the quality and quantity of sun light in San Antonio.
For more info, go to San Antonio Botanical Gardens