Bigger Picture Kinetic Glasshouse - Hero

The bigger picture: Kinetic glasshouse

Image credit: Cover Images

An ‘unfolding glasshouse’ inspired by Victorian ornamental terrariums deploys cutting-edge engineering to give subtropical plants access to the open air during warm weather.

Designed by Heatherwick Studios in collaboration with the Woolbeding Charity and the National Trust, the conical structure at the Trust’s Woolbeding Gardens in West Sussex can unfold like the flowers inside it, letting in sunlight and fresh air.

Ten steel ‘sepals’ with glass and aluminium façades take four minutes to open using a hydraulic mechanism, creating an immense 141-square-metre space in the shape of a crown.

Bigger Picture Kinetic Glasshouse - Inline

Image credit: Cover Images

As well as protecting the plants inside it, the kinetic glasshouse offers a decorative element to the Silk Route Garden around it, representing a landscape influenced by the ancient trading route between Asia and Europe.

A winding path takes visitors through 300 species and 12 distinct regions, from Mediterranean evergreens to richly scented Gallica roses originally introduced to Europe by traders from Persia.

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