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Conservatory of Flowers Rehabilitation

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

client

Bureau of Architecture, Parks & Recreation Department

Location

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

Background

The Conservatory of Flowers was constructed in 1878, and is the oldest building in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. In 1998, the World Monuments Fund listed the Conservatory as one of the 100 most endangered world monuments. Long term deferred maintenance and a series of storms in December, 1995, heavily damaged the Conservatory. Consequently, breaking wood members and glass forced its closure. In 1999, First Lady Hillary Clinton and Save America's Treasures recognized the importance of the Conservatory and provided a matching grant that led to a long-term public private partnership to both raise funds and oversee the rehabilitation effort.

Role

Bruce D. Judd, FAIA, served as the Principal-in-charge for the project while at Architectural Resources Group (ARG). ARG and Tennebaum-Manheim Engineers lead the six-year restoration, which include analysis of existing materials, conservation, seismic bracing, restoration, and rehabilitation of the Conservatory.

Scope of Work

A thorough Historic Structure Report (HSR) was the first task that included extensive research and documentation phase that clarified the building's history and construction chronology. Based on the recommendations in the HSR, designs were developed for the seismic bracing and restoration of the structure.

New structural, mechanical, HVAC and electrical systems were installed. Advanced automated environmental control systems that operate heating, ventilation and fogging systems, tuned to the different plant requirements, were carefully installed to be unobtrusive.

Repairing and stabilizing the Conservatory's 100 wood arches became a major component of the project. Each arch was constructed of several layers of wood connected together to form the long curved arches. Original wood was combined with assemblies of several pieces of wood connected with elegant scarf joints. The rehabilitation method combined treatment and reuse of original components with reclaimed old-growth redwood to match the original material, instead of using new lumber where the deteriorated portions of wood could not be used. All restoration work was completed in accordance with The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Awards and Recognition

The Conservatory has received a number of awards including a 2005 AIA National Honor Award for architecture.

 
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