Design: The Woolbeding ‘Kinetic Glasshouse’ (2022)

The Woolbeding Glasshouse

Heatherwick Studio has unveiled its latest project, a kinetic glasshouse set on the edge of the gardens here at Woolbeding. 

This unfolding structure provides the focal point to a new garden that reveals how much the ancient Silk Route – which linked the Western world with the Middle East and Asia – has influenced English gardens of today. It features ten steel ‘sepals’ with glass and aluminium façade which take four minutes to open, creating an immense 141m2 space in the shape of a crown. 

The glasshouse draws inspiration from the spirit of Victorian ornamental terrariums. It deploys cutting-edge engineering to provide a functional protective structure while at the same time offering a beguiling, decorative element to the new Silk Route Garden. 

On warm days, the glasshouse opens its ‘sepals’ using a hydraulic mechanism to allow the plants access to direct sunshine and ventilation, while in colder weather the structure will remain closed, providing shelter to a collection of subtropical species.  

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