Flower Show: The excellent German federal garden exhibitions have produced some fine works but few as good as this, which complements the outstanding eighteenth- and nineteenth-century landscapes of Potsdam.
The continuous ground plane is shaped into a 200m long space, simply enclosed by a steel and glass curtain wall. The roof is supported on precast concrete beams and has large rooflights. Rainwater from the roof is collected in a large concrete gutter and is collected in a central cistern from which it is used to humidify the building's atmosphere. The conservatory is framed by two anchor points, the entrance at the east end and the orangery to the west. The architect's aim in the central botanical garden has been to abstract geology, and you go into the great central space from the foyer through a slate-clad cliff to be engulfed by terraces and basins covered in tropical trees and plants. Frederick the Great, with his passion for the exotic, would have been proud of the place which, after the close of the exhibition, will be run by the Cinemax company as a commercial attraction for 20 years under a lease from the city.
The jury was very impressed by the way in which a large building was handled with great sensitivity to the form and history of its site and its relationship to the little city of Potsdam. And by its many suggestions about making big buildings sustainable.
The regular sequence of German garden exhibitions is admirable. Each is held in a different city, and each is funded by public and private money. Their aim is to take pieces of run-down land, use them for the show duration, then convert them to permanent parks.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Architectural Review|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2001|
|Previous Article:||Community Central: A community shelter built by the users for a wide variety of tasks is made with the cheapest materials and simplest techniques yet...|
|Next Article:||Turning the Corner: A dim and shabby office block in Mexico City has been transformed into a sparkling new hotel with ingenious and economical urbane...|