Alpine House is a small exhibition space in Kew Gardens featuring plants indigenous to the Alpine regions. The prime design consideration for this building was to create environmental conditions that match those characteristic to the alpine climate. Plenty of fresh air and natural daylight are therefore the key elements of the environmental strategy.
The skin of the Alpine House is made of low-iron glass to allow for the highest possible daylight transmission. The floor slab is constructed as a concrete ‘labyrinth’ with a large surface area which is used to blow air through to cool the concrete. This cooling effect is then available as a heat sink during the following day. The outlets from the labyrinth are positioned within the glasshouse and are designed to direct the air over the leaves of the plants to provide the necessary air movement.
Despite the limited size of the Alpine House, Atelier Ten simulated the temperature of the air reaching the plants in great detail to ensure they grow in the right conditions.