Richard Turner


n.q born in 1978 dublin

(architecture of eden) pg 109 –

Irish constructor and engineer is renowned for building the palm house in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in 1848, Turner also cut his teeth on a series of glasshouse projects, notably the conservatory at the Belfast Botanical Gardens in 1839.



… analysed different qualities of cast iron,

the more malleable wrought iron for the arched structure and glazing bars reserving cast iron for the columns.

Turner used wrought-iron tie bars to post-tension the structure once it was all in place, creating a rigid but lightweight form  – a technique that he then patented.

Palm House

Unfortunately the Palm House was not entirely a success. The green-tinted glass used to prevent scorching seemed to slow the plants growth/ Furthermore, downdraughts around the conservatory’s edge prevented some of the perimeter from being used for delicate plants. But this was subsequently largely resolved by improvements to the heating system and also reglazing the conservatory with clear glass in 1895.

pg 110 – These exciting industrialized glasshouse designs were to influence the new railway architecture of the second half of the nineteenth century.




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