Renovation of the Tropical House of the Botanical Gardens
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Renovation of the Tropical House of the Botanical Gardens

Renovation of the Tropical House of the Botanical Gardens
By Editorial Staff -
The Grand Tropical House at Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens was reopened on 16th September 2009 after three years of restoration. Built between 1905 and 1907 as a symbol of the new modern era, the huge glasshouse is one of the largest, most imposing free-standing buildings of its kind in the world: 60 metres long, 29 metres wide and 26.5 metres high, its triple-hinged steel arches covering a floor area of around 1.750 square metres. Restoration had become mandatory. Over the years the steel support structure had deteriorated, the acrylic glass panels placed after World War II had become cloudy, no longer water or airtight, and the air conditioning system antiquated. The restoration project by Haas Architekten had to comply with energy saving imperatives, combine visitor safety using laminated toughened glass but at the same time ensure UV radiation transmittance necessary for plants to thrive. As laminated toughened glass products normally come with a special UV filter, Euroglas and DuPont custom-made a special-purpose glass and coating combination. The outer glazing is Euroglas thermally tempered Eurowhite glass, coated on the inside with Luxar anti-reflex. The inner glass assembly comprises two laminated toughened Eurowhite panes sandwiching an intermediate layer of crystal clear SentryGlas by DuPont. Made from UV-stable plastic, this pane needs no UV blocking filter. The laminated glass was coated with low-E Silverstar En plus and the cavity filled with argon, reducing thermal transmittance values by more than 80% compared with the former acrylic glass panes. 7 air conditioning units ensure the necessary temperature and humidity levels for a tropical greenhouse. Air is circulated via two towers disguised as huge tree trunks standing under the vaulted area. Surplus heat is stored and can be used when outside temperatures get lower. Pipes recessed into the structural steel sections of the façade receive a constant flow of water at 360 C keeping the glass panes condensation-free. Thanks to collaboration between the developers, architects and builders, Berlin’s Tropical House is today one of the world’s most advanced and technologically innovative greenhouses.

Andreas Taibon
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