© Grimshaw Architects

The Ian Potter National Conservatory

City, Country Canberra, Australia
Client Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG)
Architect Grimshaw Architects
Services Structural Engineering
Competition 2016, shortlisted

As part of a 20-year masterplan to revive the Botanical Gardens in Canberra the competition seeked for an innovative approach to showcase tropical native flora from northern Australia, including threatened species from Kakadu and Christmas Island National Parks. As part of the consulting team Bollinger+Grohmann was consulting Grimshaw Architetcs on all structural aspects of the project.

The conservatory rests on a conventional flat foundation with strip footings only where necessary. The superstructure of the greenhouse consists of a plinth of reinforced concrete upon which a glazed steel frame structure is fixed. The ‘chimney’ tower is designed as a steel truss and is placed at the highest point of the conservatory. It serves as support against horizontal loads, ensuring that the steel frame structure is as lightweight as possible whilst permitting high levels of transparency.