Sheffield Winter Gardens- 03.18.08
NOTCOT Note: Here’s another post from Justine (rugenius) ~ and her adventures in the UK!
Like Fru and Gu, Sheffield’s Winter Gardens are something I’d come across earlier in my tenure over here in England, but never had the chance to really explore. I came across them when staying at the Mercure hotel in Sheffield, which is itself indulgently modern. I admired them from the hotel, whose Champagne bar and restaurant flank the gardens, but never actually spent time in the space. On my recent return, the gardens themselves are more than noteworthy.
The Winter Garden is a temperate haven. With its high, sweeping wooden arches and use of natural light, it transforms what is an often gray and dreary South Yorkshire day into a world bathed in soft light. Unlike the heat and humidity we often associated with greenhouses, the interior is cool and dry (and I must admit, reminds me of home!). And the high ceilings provide excellent acoustics, creating a reverential atmosphere and sense of calm (thats right, no reverberating screams of children!). See many beautiful pictures of the interior of this incredible space after the jump!
The largest urban glasshouse in Europe, the Winter Gardens is an architecturally stunning Glulam. It is impressive in much the same way the Welsh National Aseembly Building in Cardiff, Wales and likewise has won a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Award. Designed by Pringel Richards Sharrat, the building is composed of an impressive 2,100 square meters of glass, 900 cubic meters of concrete and 80 tons of steel. The building is a hallmark of sustainable architecture. The wood used in the building is uncoated larch from sustainable forests and the building’s intelligent management system learns to regulate the temperate from year to year.
One should not neglect the plants it houses either. Over 2,500 species grow within the Winter Gardens, including birds of paradise and jacarandas (yes I’m homesick) as well as orchids, a cherry tree and pitcher plants! I’m sure there are far more exotics, but I confess, botany is not at all my forte!
Moreover, the gardens provided the link from our hotel to the Millennium Galleries, designed by thee same architects. Allowing for an uninterrupted passage into the the exhibits. But more on that in the post to follow.