Lucille Halsell Conservatory
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Client: San Antonio Botanical Center Society
Area: 40,000 sq ft
1985 Progressive Architecture Award
1988 National Glass Association Award for Excellence in Commercial Design
1990 Quaternario Award First Prize
The Lucille Halsell Conservatory is a complex of greenhouses located in the hot, dry climate of southern Texas. Unlike northern climates where traditionally glazed greenhouses maximize sunlight, the climate of San Antonio requires that plants be shielded from the sun. Emilio Ambasz's design uses the earth as a container and protector of the plants, controlling light and heat levels by limiting glazed areas to the roof. This innovative design concept significantly decreased the need for expensive mechanical systems, thereby reducing the overall cost of the building by over 20%.