Previously known as the Architectural Conservatory, this is the oldest of the 19th Century glasshouses at Kew. It was originally one of two pavilions designed by John Nash for the gardens at Buckingham Palace, but William IV moved this one to Kew in 1836.
Of a classical stone ‘Greek temple’ design, the building was adapted by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, the designer of King William’s Temple . The twelve Ionic columns on the east and west façades are reputed to have come from Carlton House. Wyatville also wanted Portland stone columns on both the north and south façades, but costs obliged him to substitute Bath stone pilasters and forgo any decorative carving.
It has major historical significance, by association with Buckingham Palace and William IV. With both Nash and Wyatville involved, it is of considerable architectural significance, too.
This classical conservatory shows an elegant use of cast iron post and trusses in its spacious interior. Six Ionic columns of Portland stone to the east and the west façades support a glazed classical pediment. The intermediate bays are also fully glazed.
The building was originally heated by a patent system, by A M Perkins, of steam circulating through small bore coil pipes, but this was replaced by a large bore hot water system 30 years later.
The use and function of the Nash Conservatory changed as the Botanical Gardens evolved over the years. It first housed Araucaria and Eucalyptus; then in 1854 it was used for Australian flora. In 1861, it was renamed the Aroid House and used for South East Asian Araceae. When the Palm House was being restored in the early 1980s, it was used as temporary accommodation large palms.
After a period of disuse the Nash Consevatory has been fully restored and is currently being used as a schools’ centre.
single image converted in photoshop to 3 images (-2,0,+2). HDR in Photomatix.
Nikon D5000 & Nikkor 18mm-55mm lens.