Greenhouse Classroom is a learning facility consisting of a small classroom and a hydroponic greenhouse to provide students an opportunity to study botany year round. The form and functionality of the facility was derived from site conditions, particularly focused on climatic variations throughout the year. A combination of retaining walls and terraces elevate the building above Boulder Creek’s 500 year floodplain. The horizontal forms blend into the flat grassland creating a more smooth transition between the natural and man made. These terraces also provide space to grow a collection of native plant species, serving as a botanical garden, further enhancing the learning experience. The greenhouse is oriented south to maximize sun exposure in the winter. Using concrete throughout the greenhouse provides an ample amount of thermal massing to capture and store the sun’s energy during the day to be released at night. The lower section of the Greenhouse is dug into the ground to increase geothermal exposure. Ventilation openings allow for temperature mitigation throughout the summer. The semi translucent walls provide natural light for the classroom area, while internal illumination at night transforms the building into a beacon of light symbolizing growth and learning.
University of Colorado at Boulder