Wonders of the World 2006

Davies Alpine House 

RBG Kew 

Davies Alpine House 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England
Wilkinson Eyre

Kew Gardens built its first structure to house alpine plants in 1887. But the Davies Alpine House that opened in March is an entirely different kind of building. Its innovations lie in a combination of “smart” technology (for instance, the vents close automatically when it rains) and just plain smart design solutions. For instance, a subterranean concrete labyrinth cools the air before it is pumped into space—no AC required. Even the gorgeous form of the glass-and-steel structure has a purpose: As warm air rises through the vents at the top of the structure, cool air is drawn in through the vents at the base.

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