The Princess of Wales Conservatory, with a floor space of 4490m2 under a single multispan roof, replaces 26 individual houses, which by the end of the 1960s were showing considerable structural deterioration. Within the new house, the ten different environmental zones provide the opportunity to improve the cultivation and display conditions for Kew’s collection of tropical herbaceous plants. Two major zones encompass the wet and dry tropics, with smaller areas holding species with specialised environmental requirements.
Many innovative design and engineering features are incorporated into the building, with a fundamental requirement being energy conservation. The house has been built without side walls, with most of its space below ground level, and with the hottest zones located in the centre of the structure. Its volume is low in relation to its floor area, so temperatures can be altered more rapidly.
Climate Controls Ltd were contracted to supply and install all equipment for the control and maintenance of the 10 individual environments contained within the structure. This was achieved using ten distributive environmental computer outstations. All outstations are networked to provide central control, monitoring and historical statistical information.
The computer system has since been upgraded to the latest version of the PowerStation.