World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Phipps Conservatory


Phipps Conservatory

Coordinates: 40°26′20″N 79°56′52″W / 40.438948°N 79.947705°W / 40.438948; -79.947705

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Main entrance to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Built 1893
Architect Lord & Burnham
Architectural style Victorian greenhouse
Governing body Local government
NRHP Reference # 76001598[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 13, 1976
Designated Template:Designation/abbreviation December 26, 1972[2]
Designated Template:Designation/abbreviation 1970[3]

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a complex of buildings and grounds set in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States (near the Carnegie Museums in Oakland). It is a City of Pittsburgh historic landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

The gardens were founded in 1893 by steel and real-estate magnate Henry Phipps as a gift to the City of Pittsburgh. Its purpose is to educate and entertain the people of Pittsburgh with formal gardens (Roman, English, etc.) and various species of exotic plants (palm trees, succulents, bonsai, orchids, etc.). Currently, the facilities house elaborate gardens within the thirteen room conservatory itself and on the adjoining grounds. In addition to its primary flora exhibits, the sophisticated glass and metalwork of the Lord & Burnham conservatory offers an interesting example of Victorian greenhouse architecture.

Phipps is one of the "greenest" facilities in the world.[5] The entrance pavilion of the Phipps Conservatory has silver-level LEED certification.[6] Its Center for Sustainable Landscapes has received a Platinum certification along with fulfilling the Living Building Challenge for net-zero energy,[5] and its greenhouse production facility has received Platinum certification, the first and only greenhouse to be so certified.[7]


Indoor rooms Outdoor gardens
  • Palm Court
  • Serpetine Room
  • Fern Room
  • Orchid Room
  • Stove Room
  • South Conservatory
  • Tropical Fruit and Spice Room
  • The Gallery
  • Sunken Garden
  • Desert Room
  • Victoria Room
  • Parterre de Boderie Room
  • East Room
  • Tropical Forest Conservatory

A swan display in the Sunken Garden
during the 2005 Winter Flower Show.

  • Discovery Garden
  • Japanese Courtyard Garden
  • Aquatic Garden
  • Outdoor Garden
  • Medicinal Plant Garden
  • Botany Hall Garden


In October 2003, Phipps announced an expansion project. The first phase, a green engineered Welcome Center topped by a neo-Victorian dome, was designed by IKM Incorporated, and completed in 2005. The Production Greenhouses and a Tropical Forest Conservatory were completed in 2006.

The Tropical Forest conservatory will have a different theme every two years, beginning with the country of Thailand. In addition to a "Research Forest Station" and a "Healer's Hut" (designed to educate visitors about various cultural topics), there are two waterfalls, several bridges, a stream, and a wide variety of plants from bamboo, orchids and frangipani to plants of economic, cultural, and horticultural value to the people of Thailand. The second theme is "Headwaters of the Amazon," which opened in early 2009.

The new Tropical Forest Conservatory has several interesting features, which make it extremely energy-efficient (for a glass house.) It has "earth tubes" running underground to help cool the tropical forest and a Solid Oxide fuel cell, which powers this newly constructed part of the building. In addition, there are computer-controlled shades that block excess sun light from entering the structure and also help to insulate it at night.

In 2007, Phipps teamed with glass artist Dale Chihuly and his Tacoma-based team of glass blowers. They worked together to create a marriage of hand-blown glass and living plants. Following the closing of the exhibit in February, the conservatory retained four prominent pieces (the Welcome Center chandelier, the hanging gold star in the Desert Room, the celadon and purple gilded Fiori in the Tropical Fruit and Spice Room and the bronze, apricot and chartreuse Ikebana in the Palm Court) and subsequently purchased 26 smaller pieces for its permanent collection including six multicolored Macchia (wavy, shell-like bowls), thirteen amber Cattails and seven Paintbrushes, all of which are installed in the Palm Court. The total Chihuly collection is valued at $1.2 million.[8]

In 2009, Phipps teamed with another glass artist Hans Godo Frabel to create another stunning exhibit titled "Gardens and Glass." Unlike the Chihuly pieces, Frabel's work is more realistic, although still whimsical at times. Highlights of this exhibit include Longfellows, intricate glass orchid and lotus plants and various clowns (balancing on either glass playing cards or colored glass balls.) This collaboration was on display until January 2010.



External links

Pittsburgh portal
  • Phipps Conservatory Website
  • IKM Incorporated Website
  • Gigapan of Phipps display of Dale Chihuly: IIkebana, 2007
  • Gigapan of Phipps display of Dale Chihuly: River of Glass, 2007
  • Gigapan of Phipps display of Dale Chihuly: Blue Marlins, Cobalt Fiori, Cobalt Reeds and Niijima Floats, 2007


  • Growing a Greener World: Phipps Conservatory-The Greenest in the World
  • WQED onQ: Phipps Tropical Forest: Thailand
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.