Botanic Garden News, Fall 1999

Lyman Renovation: Step Two, by Rob Nicholson

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     The long-anticipated and much-needed renovation of the Lyman Conservatory took a major step forward this July at the Trustees' Retreat in New York City. After months of analysis and lively debate, the Architect Screening Committee put forth to the Trustees a recommendation of the firm they felt had assembled the most capable and experienced team of building professionals. Six firms were originally invited to submit proposals for the restoration and development of the Conservatory. The Committee narrowed the field to three, which the Trustees then reduced to two. After further review and site visits to each firm's work in the New York and Boston areas, the Architect Screening Committee met for a final weighing of data and perceptions. The unanimous decision of the Committee to contract the Boston-based firm of Perry Dean Rogers & Partners was put forward to the Trustees and approved. spacer this firm, captured the Committee's attention with his apt phrase, "A conservatory is an elegant machine for growing plants."
     Our "elegant machine" is creaking more than just a bit, and we hope to keep it operational and the plants within safe and warm. But it helps to know that such a skilled group of rescuers is on the way.
     Restoration of the Lyman Conservatory is a key initiative of the $250 million capital campaign now in progress. On the weekend of October 22-24, as the College approaches its 125th year, Smith is holding a gala all-college celebration, including many events highlighting the Botanic Garden. decoration
     This firm has a long and diverse list of college and university clients, who account for 85% of its total work. Perry Dean Rogers & Partners also has a long tradition of preservation work, including "timepieces" such as the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Library at Colonial Williamsburg, and Alvar Aalto's Baker House at M.I.T. Bryan Irwin, the Project Manager, has designed and overseen construction of a new conservatory, the massive Tropical Rainforest Greenhouse of the Taichung Botanical Gardens in Taiwan. The structural engineering firm on the team, Ove Arup & Partners, has completed conservatory restorations at several gardens including the New York Botanical Garden and Glasnevin in Dublin, Ireland. Liam O'Hanlon, the Conservatory Specialist for spacer
1981 Lyman Conservatory expansion
1981 Lyman Conservatory expansion
photo courtesy of Smith College Archives, Smith College
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