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Class Under Glass: An Award-Winning Place To Learn About Plants

The new instructional greenhouse at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has received an Honor Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The D. C. Smith Instructional Greenhouse has now garnered four awards in five months.

The Honor Award, the chapter”s most prestigious award, was presented May 5 at the group”s annual Design Awards Program, held at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. The project will be one of 11 award-winning designs featured in the July/August Wisconsin Architect magazine.

The D.C. Smith Greenhouse has rapidly become a landmark on the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences campus. The greenhouse includes 11 separate bays, each covering about 500 square feet, where students can control light, temperature and humidity independently. However, the building”s most dramatic feature is a colonnade of tree-like columns that branch upwards, supporting curved wooden beams high above the greenhouse entrance and adjacent 1,400-square-foot conservatory.

In January, the facility was one of two new construction projects recognized for Excellence in Architectural Design at the State of Wisconsin Building Commission 1997 Awards Program. Madison Magazine selected the greenhouse for an Award of Excellence for institutional construction in its annual Design of the Times interior design competition this February. The facility also received the 1997 Environmental Improvement Grand Award from the Landscape Contractors of America for interior landscaping of the conservatory.

The greenhouse is named for David Clyde Smith, who chaired the Department of Agronomy for 20 years. It was designed by Flad & Associates of Madison; David W. Black was the project designer. McCaren Design of St. Paul, Minn., planted the conservatory; McRae Anderson was the designer.