Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Researching 'The Palm House' at Kew Gardens - Assignment 3, Buildings in use

I had already visited Kew Gardens before and so knew of the Palm House but didn't know much 'concrete' information about it until I started to research it properly.

   I found it fascinating that it was the largest remaining Victorian building still around that was built out of glass and iron. The structure was a vast open space made possible by wrought iron beams. I discovered a restoration was badly needed and took place in 1955-57 due to flooding in 1848 and subsequent bad weathering. However, this restoration wasn't very well carried out and in 1984-88, when technological standards had improved drastically it was restored for a second time.

   While considering the Palm House as a usable space the first thing that became apparent was its size. Of course it was designed with the huge plants in mind but there were walkways and staircases to help people have a good look to show off the palms. Indeed, the walkways were actually made wider during the second restoration accompanied by seating.

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