The facility, China’s first low energy glasshouse and the largest public glasshouse in Asia, is the main Plant Pavilion for the 2014 International Horticultural Exhibition in Qingdao and was designed by Weddle Landscape Design.
The Horticultural Exhibition has been under construction since 2009, and work on the glasshouse has taken three years.
After the six-month exhibition the Plant Pavilion will be a permanent fixture and the focal point of a new botanical garden for China. It is expected to be a key tourist destination for Qingdao. It is five times bigger than the Weddle-designed Sheffield Winter Garden.
The design concept was to showcase the conservation of plants from worldwide temperate habitat zones, where native plants are threatened by city expansion. Weddle worked with one of China’s largest architectural practices to develop a naturally ventilated environment where temperatures can fluctuate between 6 – 30 degrees centigrade, similar to the UK climate range except the temperature will never drop below freezing.
The glasshouse exhibits 3000 varieties of plants ranging from bamboo to cactus, palms and tree ferns with space for 30m-high trees. There is also an Ocean Tank for seaweed and marine displays and a Cultural Bamboo House.
Principal Mike Browell said: "Many people in China have never travelled abroad, so we are bringing the plant world to them. For a British landscape architect, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a world class glasshouse display."
He added: "Some visitors to the Expo will be expert horticulturalists with a good understanding about worldwide plants and many others will just be thrilled to see strange plants from Australia and South Africa alongside those from Chile and California."
Weddle has been working in China for the past six years and recent projects include new city masterplanning, riverside parks, organic and ecological farms and an international airport.