Great Glasshouse Technical Facts
• The Glasshouse was designed by the world renowned architect Lord Norman Foster and
• It is the world’s largest single span Glasshouse measuring 110m (374`) long by 60m (204`)
• The internal landscape covers 3500m2 (40500`2), while the glass dome covers 4500m2
(15300`2). The dome is the shape of an elliptical torus and consists of 785 panes of glass,
most of which are 4m x 1.5m (13.5` x 5`).
• Each glass plane consist of two 9mm (9/25”) thick sheets of glass with a laminated film in
between making a glass sandwich 19.5mm (18/25”) thick in total.
• The glass dome is tilted by 7 degrees on its axis and is orientated to face south this helps
capture the maximum amount of sunlight in a day.
• Steel Ball and Socket joints attach 24 tubular arches to the concrete plinth the special joints
allow for expansion of the steel ribs which cover the glasshouse.
• 147 computer controlled vents regulate a fully controllable and natural airflow.
• Heat is provided from a biomass furnace which in conjunction with the climate control
prevents the glasshouse temperature falling below 9 degrees Celsius.
• High mounted fans, blow air around the glasshouse interior this simulates the windy
conditions of the Mediterranean regions and strengthen the plants.
• The Glasshouse is divided into 5 regions including the Mediterranean Basin (and the Canary
Islands), Costal California, Chile, Cape province of south Africa and South Western Australia
all within a landscape design by Kathryn Gustafson of Gustafson Porter.
- Within the Great Glasshouse in April 2013, there were 432 genera of plants, 961 plant species and 1048 plant taxa.