Sheffield Winter Garden in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire is one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK during the last hundred years, and the largest urban glasshouse anywhere in Europe. It is home to more than 2,000 plants from all around the world. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 22 May 2003.
Part of the ?120 million Heart of the City regeneration project that has created the Peace Gardens and the ?15 million Millennium Galleries, the Winter Garden was designed by Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects and Buro Happold and is some 70 metres (77 yd) long and 21 metres (23 yd) high.
The building has background frost protection to a minimum of 4 degrees Celsius and it is one of the largest Glued Laminated Timber or “Glulam” buildings in the UK (Glulam is made by forming and gluing strips of timber into specific shapes). The wood used is Larch, a durable timber which will, over time, turn a light silvery grey colour. The larch, derived from sustainable forests, requires no preservatives or coatings. This reduces the use of solvents and also avoids the use of chemicals that could harm the plants. It has an intelligent Building Management System which controls fans and vents to make sure the plants are cooled in summer and kept warm in winter. The system will “learn” year by year.
The bedding plants are changed five times a year, to give a seasonal change, and all the plants are watered by hose or by watering can, as it is the only way to ensure that all the plants get the correct amount of water.