sábado, 28 de maio de 2011

ESTUFAS: Amazing Glass

Years ago when coal and servants came cheap and greenhouse gases were more likely to be the noxious fumes used to kill pests, magnificent greenhouses would stretch around the perimeter of walled gardens. Elsewhere, in the ornamental areas of the gardens, grand conservatories and orangeries livened up the scene.

Today many of the structures have dual use – as places to grow and to socialise. The architecture of the best greenhouses reflects this and many are beautiful as well as functional. Better still, new materials and double-glazing have made them more efficient than the attractive but fuel-hungry greenhouses the Victorians enjoyed. Like the Victorians, today’s glasshouses are used to grow food as well as to raise seeds, bring on tender plants and keep exotics that would not otherwise survive in the northern hemisphere. Here are the best on the market.

It is the geodesic shape of these greenhouses that makes them strong enough to withstand winds and storm. Solardome has been operating for 40 years fine-tuning its aluminum and glass construction. Their shape allows air to circulate freely without cold or hot spots and maximum light. Their largest dome is 10m in diameter and 5m high, tall enough for bananas and palms.

Alitex’s aluminium frame offers strength and longevity. The National Trust first approached Alitex to create greenhouses in 2004, and they have since developed a full installation service. Fittings and accessories include climate control, options on venting, hot water heating control and humidity regulators. Alitex’s greenhouses have been installed at Loch Lomond Golf Club.
Hartley Botanic is another aluminium greenhouse. Hartley’s range includes the smallest domestic greenhouse to magnificent commercial glasshouses seen in the Glasgow and Oxford Botanic Gardens. Every Hartley greenhouse is hand made and can be shipped and assembled throughout the world.


Marston & Langinger’s timber greenhouses are wider than average. The frames can be finished in more than 70 colours. M&L greenhouses include clever details such as scallop-edged panes to drain rain away from the glazing bars, the option to add extra shelving, automated electric ventilation and heating controls. It is my greenhouse of choice.

Hybrid materials
Gabriel Ash is the only greenhouse company endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. The RHS approached it to design and install their teaching greenhouse at Harlow Carr in northern England. The requirement was to be wide and long enough to house plants and tools, with space to teach large groups. Installed in 2010, the result is superb. All greenhouses are built in Cedar with aluminum reinforcement forming a hybrid that incorporates the strength of both materials. It is possible to create hot and cool spaces, for various growing zones.

Solar Innovations are world leaders in contemporary greenhouse engineering. Aluminium is used for the frame, which means no rusting, rotting, or annual maintenance, and greenhouses can be glazed in glass, acrylic or polycarbonate. Interior and exterior is planned in detail to include insulation, ventilation, heating, cooling, humidifying, and shading. Price depends on design, location and accessories chosen.

Made in the US and shipped worldwide, this gracefully curved Gothic Arch design is tough enough to withstand winter blizzards. Available in various sizes in a range of freestanding and lean-to models, the frame is built in Cypress, a naturally insulating timber.

Amdega orangeries evoke the Victorian era when citrus trees were over-wintered in a unique building that allowed them to catch the sun. Amdega commissions are tailored to the garden and client. Every design allows for strong proportions and individual details; no two orangeries are the same. http://www.amdega.co.uk/

in Financial Times, 19-20 de Março de 2011

Foto: Estufa do séc. XIX em Loch Lomond, Escócia, restaurada pela empresa Alitex. Infelizmente a bela estufa do séc. XIX do nosso Jardim Botânico foi demolida nos anos 60 do séc. XX para se construir outra estufa em betão armado - actualmente em muito mau estado de conservação, sem valor patrimonial e com pé-direito insuficiente para exposições de plantas de escala maior. Será possível reconstruir a estufa histórica? Ou devemos criar uma nova estufa de exibição de design contemporâneo? Este debate, esta reflexão, ainda está por fazer. Mas como se constata por este artigo, só no Reino Unido há várias empresas competentes na área de projecto, restauro e execução de estufas. O mais importante é planear a construção de uma estufa para que o nosso Jardim possa cumprir com um dos grandes objectivos dos jardins botânicos que é divulgar e promover cultura botânica junto de todos os cidadãos.

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