The Noble Greenhouse: Interpretations and Innovations

A few months ago I read an article in Garden Design magazine about greenhouse design which got me to thinking about how wonderful it would be to have my very own serious greenhouse attached to my beach house in Fire Island. The gist of the article was

  that you do not need a great amount of space, just a decent patch of sunlight and voilà you can add a glass structure to your present home and have the extra added enjoyment of walking through a little piece of paradise every day.


Greenhouse by Phillippa Probert from the UK

I don’t know if you have a garden, but if you do you might be the same as I am.  Every day I like to look in on my plants and note their progress.  Are they growing new flowers, new leaves, new anything and do they seem happy? Or, has some creature taken to live in them and sap their beauty away nibble by nibble. My succulent garden is my favorite and I often stare at it wishing  for new growth, or pondering its well being and contentment.  When something really grows and becomes luscious and verdant I feel like a contented mother of a well raised child.

So I became quite intrigued with this article and wanted to share some of the great design I discovered while reading it. Although classic greenhouses are still quite readily available,  contemporary greenhouse design has come into the 21 Century with a big bang. Besides being architecturally designed as extensions to living places, they also can provide solar heat for other areas of the dwellings, are lush retreats for the inhabitants, provide space to grow edible produce, and provide an indoor garden in both urban and country settings.

In Japan, Hiroshi Iguchi designed a house called Camouflage House and  it is constructed as both a living  environment and a  greenhouse, where people would live side by side  with their plants and trees. Asking the question, “Why should greenhouses be just for people?” the structure is composed of  eco friendly materials such as wood floors, Japanese fabric room dividers and white canvas to keep the heat out. Now this is a concept to ponder about.

ON Design Partners Stacked Greenhouses in Japan

ON Design Partners tacked  on two stacked “urban farms,” aka greenhouses, to a building in the Roppongi district of Tokyo, where vegetables are grown that supply nearby restaurants. This minute connection to the green world of nature is a great example of ingenuity and creativity in a tightly packed urban area.

Renzo Piano’s Genoa G8 Dome in Genoa,Italy

The famous architect  Renzo Piano constructed a biosphere on the waterfront in Genoa, Italy. Known as the Genoa G8 Dome it has cockatoos and butterflies among the streams and tropical flowers and plants. Although technically not only a greenhouse in the true sense of the word, the concept is the same, and it provides the enjoyment of an encapsulated place where people can enjoy and study the natural elements in a contained environment.

Monika Gora of Gora Art & Landscape’s Glass Bubble in Sweden

Another fabulous greenhouse is one called The Glass Bubble by Monika Gora of Gora Art & Landscape. Situated in a windy courtyard in Malmö, Sweden, amongst several  residential buildings in a retirement community, it is just what the dezign doctor ordered.  Constructed out of laminated glass, it offers sufficient light for palm trees and magnolias to flourish inside and impedes the strong wind.

Studio d’ARC’s Saw-Toothed Greenhouse

Studio d’ARC, in Pittsburgh, literally planted a saw-toothed structure on top of an old Victorian house which acts both as a sun room and greenhouse, and provides additional heating to the apartments below. what might be considered as a strange configuration for a greenhouse, the angled glass panels actually collect a great deal of sunlight enhancing the efficiency of the space. I think it is super cool looking both inside and outside.



I always dreamed of constructing a glass room attaching my main house to my guest house at my house in Fire Island, simply filled to the brim with a myriad of plants and  different trees growing out of opened glass panels in the roof.  Looks like it’s time to make that dream come true!