The Allan Gardens Conservatory is an indoor botanical garden and is currently one of the city’s most well-known landmarks and tourist attractions. The park in which this conservatory is built on (Allan Gardens) existed since the year of 1858, making it one of the Toronto’s oldest parks. Its most prominent formal feature is the Palm House (designed by architect Robert McCallum) which is situated at the conservatory’s center. Featuring six greenhouses, this botanical garden houses a large variety of plant specimen for the public to observe and enjoy.
The building design of the Allan Gardens Conservatory emphasizes the use of repetition, symmetry and contrast. The use of steel supports such as framing and trusses as well as the use of translucent glazing can be seen throughout the majority of the conservatory. Symmetry is highly evident when viewing the building on the ground towards the main entrance of the Palm House. Two main entrances are situated on the south and the north side of the main façade with alike ornamentations above the entry doors. The use of materials are also the same for both entrances with a repetitive pattern of wood framed glazing in the space between the entryways. On another note, symmetry is evident when the entire conservatory is viewed from above (bird’s eye view) along with the site due to the similar geometrical shapes of the north/south greenhouses as well as the diagonal paths on the site directed from the two intersections on Sherbourne St. The garden’s prominent feature of contrast is clear when observing the used materials on the building’s exterior and in the interior. Building materials such as stone tile cladding and light toned wood can be seen on the main façade of the Palm House. Another example of contrasting materials can be seen in the tropical greenhouse, where the same wall was constructed with tree logs on one side and stucco on the other.
1) “Allan Gardens Conservatory – Allan Gardens Conservatory information and pictures” Go There Guide. 2010. http://www.gothereguide.com/allan+gardens+conservatory+toronto-place/
2) “Allan Gardens” EnjoyOntario.ca. 2010. http://www.enjoyontario.ca/allan-gardens/
3) “Allan Gardens Park & Conservatory” Tanglewood Conservatories. 2010. http://www.tanglewoodconservatories.com/ourfirm/allan-gardens-park-n-conservatory.htm