Elegance paired with stunning architecture: the “Palm House”. Iconic Remnants of the grand Victorian era, “Palm Houses” are formal glass and iron greenhouses, of stately stature, towering over the enclosed lush, green and exotic world of palms. Grand symbols of an era of elegance, for certain. Established to specialize in the growing of palms and other tropical and subtropical plants, the “Palm House” provides a visual warmth to our senses in acknowledging their requirement for constant heat to duplicate the natural environment for these lush green treasures. Tropical ambience paired with Victorian structures. Originally built as status symbols in Victorian Britain, these ornate glass and iron structures grace the landscapes they are situated upon. In time, the appearance of these houses of palms would go beyond Britain’s boundaries. Constructed by iron makers, the architectural importance of these houses of “Palms” deserve our appreciation. Large scale structures with an interior iron framework, cast iron truss work paired with glass roofs are a vision to behold. These temperate houses with mezzanine walkways and spiral staircases are stunning and remarkable architecture in glass and iron. Certainly brought forth by great glass pioneers and iron artisans of the era.
Perhaps initial private conservatories of greenhouses were the predecessors of housing exotic, non-native flora before the construction of the grand fabrication of “Palm Houses” that were created for the public’s viewing. Either way, the curvaceous exteriors paired with a steamy interior is a delight in architecture and in the appreciation of tropical foliage that fills our world…
“Inspired by Chatsworth, and by the eager searching of the times, Decimus Burton and Richard Turner designed the much larger Palm House in London’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where they were the supervising architects. Palm House is 363 feet long by 100 feet wide and rises to a height of 66 feet. Besides educating visitors in the natural world, one of the functions of the English greenhouses at the time was to display the exotic range of plants and flowers that flourished in the British Empire”
- G.E. Kidder Smith/Looking at Architecture
And of the inclusion of the palm within the interior? A natural addition of style, for certain. The appreciation of the palm plant within the interior brings thoughts of warm breezes and fresh air. The palm itself, classified as Arecaceae, is from the botanical family of perrennial lianas, shrubs and trees called Palmae or Palmaceae. With leaves that have a “tubular sheath at the base that usually splits open on one side at maturity”. The common representation is said to be that of a solitary shoot ending in a crown of leaves. Beauty in a crown of leaves, for certain. The trunk itself is said to develop an axillary bud at a leaf node near the base from which a new shoot emerges. Continual emergence of divine growth. Abundant throughout the tropics, palms are distinguished by their “large, compound, evergreen leaves arranged at the top of an unbranched stem”. The historical use and appeal of the exotic palms throughout history validates the importance of this grand plant. Palms have been honored as symbols of victory, peace and even fertility. Perhaps the visual association today of the palm as a symbol of relaxation sets our spirits a flutter when surrounded by the mass of tropical bliss. Peaceful tranquility in green, for certain.
Consider the palms of lush green within the interior world. Inclusions of the palm plant itself or merely an emblem of the palm are perhaps lasting representations of calm and tranquil settings. Lush green beauty of exotic delight. Eternal “Summer” embellishment within the interior, for certain…