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Greenhouse and Cabinet of Future Fossils
Designed by architect Jenny Sabin

A greenhouse for the 21st century stands in the American Philosophical Society’s (APS) garden. An outgrowth of the Museum’s current exhibition, it was conceived by artist, designer, and architect Jenny Sabin. Her ecologically savvy structure re-envisions greenhouse architecture using digital design tools. It is also a striking work of art.

Made of recycled and recyclable materials, the 52’-long structure has no glass and requires no heat. It is supported by curving, structural ribs that hold up 110 translucent, jewel-toned cold frames (mini-greenhouses) filled with edible and ornamental plants. The 2’ x 1’ x 1’ cold frames are removable and portable, intended for winter gardening in small urban spaces.

The “Cabinet of Future Fossils” inside the Greenhouse displays digitally produced ceramic art objects that are inspired by forms in nature. But they are not quite recognizable. Like scientists perplexed by the fossil bones of animals who lived a long time ago, Sabin wryly imagines a future era when people might be equally puzzled by these curious “fossil” remnants of the computer age.

Jenny Sabin, Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture, Art & Planning at Cornell University, received a 2010 Pew Fellowship for her work at the forefront of an architectural practice that applies insights and theories from nature and science to the design of material structures.

Click here to view a time-lapse video of the Greenhouse construction. Be sure to look for the blue tarp dancing in the rain!