Architectural studio Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt planted this minimalist greenhouse in Hampshire, England. The contemporary timber and glass structure, a departure from the classic greenhouse form, was conceived as a multi-use space with a kennel and dog run. The firm used Accoya timber, engineered to resist rot and battle the elements. The cladding “has been stained, providing a dramatic counterpoint to the stone and glass.
Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt
The narrow banding of the timber accentuates the horizontal planes of the stone below, contrasting the vertical panels of the glass greenhouse structure,” according to the studio’s notes. The team installed Fieger louvered glass windows—part of a special management system to address various needs from ventilation to temperature control.
Tanglewood has created rooms for homeowners who want to admire their gardens, tend to their plants, or entertain stylishly. Some structures even have bars and spa rooms. One technically complicated request arrived for a pool house, modeled after the Schönbrunn Palace Palm House in Vienna. The company’s artisans skilled in cabinetmaking, woodworking, copper work, metal, and glass were enlisted for this Victorian-style conservatory with a fountain and mahogany interior.
Echoing the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, it features crisscross mullion, architectural brackets, and a domed roof made of individually shingled pieces of glass. “It’s an unbelievable space,” says Stein. “To be able to create that for someone in the 21st century was a quite a thrill for us.”
Award-winning architect Bobby McAlpine’s first conservatory commission was for prominent Alabama patron Wynton M. Blount, who wanted a dining space that could accommodate 100 family members. The architect, with designer and coprincipal Ray Booth, created an interior that “could spontaneously become either a great big entertaining space, a palm court, or a dining room—all set within a delicate residential context.”
Guests enter from the conservatory’s lobby. There are unfettered views to the formal gardens, and the project features a full catering kitchen in the basement. “Part of the celebrant nature of it is that when inviting people to gather, I think, Mr. Blount wanted to offer them something they couldn’t get anywhere else. And to have a beautiful salon in a glass, ghostly structure is a highly memorable experience that people don’t often get,” says McAlpine.
Charles Hilton Architects
Some clients are delighted to get dirty. Greenwich, Conn.–based architect Charles Hilton recently completed an 800-square-foot, Palladian-style limonaria for a 13-acre estate that includes an organic farm (the wife is a gourmet chef). Hilton gave the building, set by custom bronze gates and carved limestone columns, a French Normandy architectural character that complemented the couple’s main Georgian home. Inside, lemon trees rest on flagstone floors, and the space has a working sink.
Charles Hilton Architects
The architect designed it to be hosed down when needed, as it sees regular activity. That distinction is noteworthy. Hilton says, “People who care about beauty want to make their service buildings as thoughtful and attractive as the rest of the architecture on their estate.”
Anouska Hempel Design
London-based designer Anouska Hempel created this private orangery, which sits up to 10 guests, near the English city of Bath in Somerset county.
The reigning sense of serenity is hard-earned: Special engineering is required to maintain a consistent temperature for both people and plants—an essential consideration for every one of these projects. The magic is often in what isn’t visible, done by “disguising the air conditioning and heating but also the watering system and ventilation from the sides,” notes Hempel. Still, the designer believes in the botanical splendor of the orangery—found in whiffs of jasmine, neroli, and datura. Glass houses are “timeless. Part of the past and into the future, they let the light in from the world,” Hempel says. “They are pods. You can go and sit in them and watch the shadows, or you can go and sit with your iPad.”