Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro

Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro

© Jose Campos

Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Exterior photography, windows, door, column, arch, handrailTropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Outdoor photography, glass, beamTropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Interior photography, GardenTropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Exterior Photography, Facade+ 31

Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Exterior photography, facade, windows
© Jose Campos

Text description provided by the architects. The tropical greenhouses and the new scientific corner on site are located in the upper town of Alta de Coimbra. They belong to the Botanical Garden of the University built in 1772 by the Marquis of Pombal. The Tropical Greenhouses, completed in 1859, are one of the first examples of iron architecture in Portugal, their reference being the greenhouses of Kew Gardens in England. The intervention in the greenhouses consisted of restoring and recovering the existing structures and implementing technical solutions adapted to the growth of the plants and the use of the space, in particular to receive visits. These conditions involved new means of shading and ventilation, to ensure appropriate hygrometry and humidity levels and access to and within the building.

Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Exterior photography, windows, door, column, arch, handrail
© Jose Campos
Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Interior photography, Garden
© Jose Campos

One of the measures with the greatest impact in the rehabilitation of the greenhouses was to recover the original indoor/outdoor relationship and to restore the transparency of the glass on the vertical surfaces and the roof by removing the whitewashing which had added opacity and weight to glazed surfaces. . To replace the old temperature and light control system obtained by whitewashing, a new transparent laminated glass was applied, with interior shade screens. This measure corrects the lack of thermal regulation, solar protection and space security, resulting in a radical change in the image of the greenhouses, which now have a distinct configuration according to the seasons.

Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Outdoor photography, glass, beam
© Jose Campos
Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Image 25 of 31
Section
Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Interior photography, facade, arch
© Jose Campos
Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Exterior photography, facade, windows
© Jose Campos

The central wing corresponds to a singular moment in the visit to the greenhouses, given its very high ceilings and the existence of a gallery next to the upper level. To reinforce its exceptional character, the flower beds have been removed and replaced by a large pond in which grows Victoria Amazonia, a species of giant water lily from the Amazon basin. The pond is lined with steel plates painted black to emphasize the mirrored surface of the water.

Tropical Greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Exterior Photography, Facade, Garden
© Jose Campos
Tropical greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Image 29 of 31
Sketch

As with the new Victoria Pond, the on-site science corner was built from scratch next to the greenhouses to accommodate infrastructure and a new curriculum. In the spirit of traditional cool houses, this building has a garden roof with a wooden and stone frame and wooden slatted shutters.

Tropical Greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra / João Mendes Ribeiro - Exterior Photography, Fence, Facade
© Jose Campos

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