GLOBAL FLORA reimagines how the design of a sustainable greenhouse can enhance global interdisciplinary science education and deepen a public understanding of nature. The Global Flora botanical facility expands the 1920 vison of Dr. Margaret Ferguson who argued for plant biology as a central part of science education and encouraged students to “listen to” plants and learn through hands-on interdisciplinary experiences. Global Flora houses a pre-eminent global plant collection in Dry and Tropical biomes. The iconic Durant Camellia tree, over 140 years old, is housed in a seasonal pavilion that connects with the new facility. Global Flora exceeds the Net Zero Water & Energy requirements of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous certification of sustainable construction.

An open source Interactive Sensor Platform allows people to gather and share realtime data from plants, soil, air, and water over multiple public digital media platforms. Global Flora is a free and public botany lab and ‘museum’ that emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship to current and future generations on-site and online. Gathered data is accessible to public schools and international research universities, thereby strengthening the global knowledge sharing platform.

Date: Construction April 2018 through June 2019
Status: Under Construction
Client: Wellesley College
Location: Wellesley, MA
Design Team:
Frano Violich, FAIA; Managing Principal
Sheila Kennedy, FAIA; Principal Consulting on Design
Ben Widger, AIA; Project Architect
Shawna Meyer, AIA LEED AP, Kyle Altman, Bob White, Nick Johnson, Daniel Sebaldt, Michael Bennet, Diana Tomova, Peteris Lazovskis, Mark Bavoso, Lynced Torres; Project Designers
Architect: Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd.
Structural, MEP & Envelope: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, PC
Civil Engineer: Nitsch Inc.
Landscape Architect: Andropogon Associates, Ltd.
Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
Code Consultant: Jensen Hughes Associates Inc.
Climate Consultant: Transsolar
Exhibit Consultant: Small Design Firm
Energy Consultant: ReVision Energy

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Wellesley College Global Flora