Hortus is no hot house

Rest assured “Hortus”, the glasshouse being built on Harbour Esplanade, will be a comfortable place to enjoy Docklands this summer.

Though Hortus will feature plants, that have been carefully curated by an artist, the glasshouse will not function like a greenhouse, which is how most glasshouses traditionally operate. The greenhouse effect is where the heat passing through the glass is trapped inside the greenhouse by the glass – making for very warm conditions inside the glasshouse. The greenhouse effect is a term borrowed by scientists to illustrate how some gases in our atmosphere trap heat inside the earth.

Thankfully, Hortus will not be a greenhouse.

Chris Walker from Aecom, who consulted with Folk Architects about the project last year, said that the glass had an embedded performance film that would ensure that heat was reflected from the building. This specification will ensure that summer heat does not pass through the glass.

Furthermore, the internal conditions of the glasshouse will be further maintained by a translucent shade cloth. Christie Petsinis, from Folk Architects, said that the shade cloth would block heat while also allowing a lot of natural light to flood the glasshouse.

The other feature of the building that will provide comfortable conditions for summer patrons is the operable vents in the roof. These vents can be opened up to utilise the natural wind in the area to cool the inside of the structure.

Hortus is being made in a bid to activate Harbour Esplanade. As Tim Wilson from Folk Architects explained, Hortus has been a collaboration of a lot of talented authors.

“A lot of talented people have contributed in kind to this project. There is not one author. (This is a) project about participation and people.”

Hortus is expected to be completed in time for summer.

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