The same point of view: MU Faculty of Science then and now – The botanical garden greenhouses.

2 Aug 2021 Magdaléna Chytrá

The photo below shows the botanical garden greenhouses as they would have looked in 1995. However, the actual photo was most likely taken in the late 1960s, given that the greenhouse for ferns and cycads (far left), which was built in 1965, has not yet been completely filled with plants, and the greenhouse known as Japan, built in the 1970s, is missing from the front of Building no. 9 on the right side of the photo. The older greenhouses were built separately between the 1932 and 1975 and it’s clear that they were constructed with no uniform architectural design and using different materials. The needs of ordinary lay visitors were not really considered in their design, the main aim being to provide a suitable environment for the plants and collections and for study and research.

The original greenhouses were built gradually between the years 1932 and 1975. Photo: MU Archive, undated.

Todays greenhouses were built on the site of the original greenhouses between 1995 and 1997, based on a design by the architect Petr Talanda. The greenhouses comprise five tunnel-shaped structures with external steel arches, the whole being covered with cellular polycarbonate sheets with insulating glass at each end. The greenhouses have been designed as exhibition spaces, with four of the buildings primarily serving visitors and the last, which is used for storage, inaccessible to the public. Today, almost 25 years after construction, the greenhouses are having to undergo gradual reconstruction as the humid and warm environment maintained inside is highly aggressive to the construction materials, seals, wiring and so on. Our botanical garden was one of the first in the Czech Republic to construct new greenhouses following the Velvet Revolution, and while they were built using non-traditional technology and new materials for the time, we must say that they have lasted very well since that time, with no major defects. This has also been helped by the fact that the garden management have always aimed for careful maintenance and quick repairs. 

The current greenhouses date from 1995 to 1997. Photo: Libor Teplý, 2019.

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