University of Wisconsin, Madison D.C. Smith Greenhouses

University of Wisconsin, Madison - D.C. Smith GreenhousesUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison - D.C. Smith Greenhouses


University of Wisconsin, Madison - D.C. Smith Greenhouses

Potential for growth

LocationMadison, Wisconsin

RecognitionAIA Wisconsin, Honor Award

In nature, there is constant rebirth. As flowers and trees wither, new ones sprout and grow, made stronger by the plants that came before.

So when the century-old greenhouses at the University of Wisconsin were razed to make way for a new laboratory facility, the university pondered the opportunity. A new greenhouse structure could implement the latest in horticulture technology and demonstrate the university's commitment to agriculture science. Programmatically, the new complex could give students an exceptional teaching lab and an ideal habitat for diverse plants. Visually, it could provide a new entrance for the horticulture building while communicating a metaphor - the tremendous potential for growth.

In the resulting structure, tree-like columns branch up to support curved beams above the greenhouse entrance, forming a new façade for the previously undistinguished plant sciences building. The facility has a 1,400-square-foot conservatory and 11 separate environments. Each area is programmable to different conditions of light, heat, humidity, and soil temperature, allowing multiple experiments to be conducted simultaneously. The greenhouse creates a dramatic, western entry to the department of plant sciences.


This gives us the ability to teach the plant sciences and make an immediate connection with applications in the outside world. The challenge now is to upgrade our courses to the level of this facility.

Brent McCownPhDHorticulture Professor

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