Designed to protect and propagate exotic plants from around the world, the nineteenth-century glasshouse was a topos for environmental concerns. While historians have pointed to the confluence of glasshouse horticulture and the rise of environmental thought in architecture, how and why these transfers took place is not well understood. In On the Horticultural Origins of Victorian Glasshouse Culture, Dustin Valen examines how gardening informed architectural production in nineteenth-century England by transmitting Victorian science into building culture. He explores how gardening periodicals and books served as vehicles for environmental and scientific thought, and how “artificial climates” made by horticulturalists were reinscribed in debates over human health and transformed into “medical climates” in architecture. Bridging these disciplinary boundaries, the glasshouse played a key role in the emerging environmental paradigm in architecture by crossbreeding building practices with scientific knowledge and illustrating how mechanical solutions could be applied to living problems.

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