Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Palm Dome Restoration
Award of Merit
Owner: New York Botanical Garden
Lead Design Firm: Jan Hird Pokorny Associates
General Contractor: E.W. Howell Co.
Structural Engineer: Silman
MEP Engineer: JMV Consulting Engineer PC
Greenhouse Specialist: Rough Brothers
Complicating inherent challenges of renovating the central dome atop the botanical garden’s Palms of the World Gallery of the 55,000-sq-ft conservatory, built in 1902, was the need to maintain ideal interior climate conditions for its tropical plant collection during the year-long construction phase. A specially designed scaffolding system did triple duty as a work platform for multiple trades, as a thermal barrier to maintain consistent heat and humidity conditions, and for structural support of the compression ring—the dome’s main structural element—during the repair process.
The multiphased repair sequence had to balance speed with the delicate work of replacing historic steel and wood elements. The original design was carefully broken down into smaller elements that could be extruded or cast, then shop-welded and painted into the larger elements for shipment to the site, minimizing site labor and accelerating installation.
The painstaking efforts paid off with an on-time, on-budget completion, says the team, allowing the gallery’s plants to flourish beneath their distinctive dome for at least another century.