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The shell of the Flower and Butterfly House in the Palmengarten is standing

11.09.2019 | 11:58 Clock | Favorite places
The shell of the Flower and Butterfly House in the Palmengarten is standing

At Frankfurt's Palmengarten, work is currently going on vigorously on a project that is scheduled to open to the public in early 2021: The Flower and Butterfly House! The project is visibly taking shape. A few days ago, Rosemarie Heilig, Head of the Department for the Environment and Women's Issues, Katja Heubach, Director of the Palmengarten, and Roland Effgen, responsible architect of the Wiesbaden-based firm Kissler + Effgen, presented the shell.

Since the beginning of this year, a roughly 800-square-meter ensemble of glass houses has been created on the site of the former Blossom House with an attached nursery. In the warm house, visitors will in future be able to walk around among tropical plants and free-flying butterflies such as banana butterflies, white tree nymphs, sky butterflies and Atlas butterflies. At the pupa station, the metamorphosis of a butterfly from pupa to butterfly can be observed. For the adjacent cold house, the Palmengarten is designing an information exhibition focusing on floral ecology. Adjacent to the show house are greenhouses for the nursery. The interior design of the building will begin in the coming months.

The opening in just under a year and a half is not chosen entirely by chance, as it coincides with a special anniversary for the popular oasis in Frankfurt's urban jungle: "In time for its 150th anniversary in 2021, the Palmengarten will offer its visitors a new attraction with the Flower and Butterfly House. And raise awareness of a topic that is more important than ever: the importance of insects for our environment, for agriculture and food supply," says Rosemarie Heilig. "We all know that the number of bees, bumblebees, butterflies and various other insects is declining. This is worrying. Because this dwindling means that our ecosystem is in serious danger. We are all called upon to rethink, to make our gardens, parks and fields insect-friendly again. In the Flower and Butterfly House, and in general throughout the Palmengarten, visitors* will learn how this can be done."

"With over 160,000 described species, butterflies are the most species-rich insect order after beetles. Children and adults around the world are fascinated by butterflies. We want to use this fascination at the Palmengarten to introduce our visitors to the topic of pollination and to convey that it is indispensable for our ecosystem. In the Flower and Butterfly House, we teach them about flower ecology," explains Heubach. An integrated workshop room provides the basis for a holistic, self-exploring approach. And that's not all: the Palm Garden also creates a connection to the outdoors. Heubach: "This year we have already planted a flowering meadow for insects with a regional seed mixture. Next year it will bloom for the first time and be a valuable retreat for animals in the middle of the big city of Frankfurt."

The design of the Blossom and Butterfly House, a galvanized steel structure lined with insulating glass, comes from the architectural firm Kissler + Effgen. The building sections, which vary in size and height, are all interconnected so that the overall volume remains compact and the areas of the outer shell have been minimised. The selection of different types of glazing, energy screening and shading systems, in combination with the heating, irrigation and humidification systems, create various climate zones inside. These can be adapted on a house-by-house basis to the needs of the various plant species. "The joining principle, dimensional order and technology of the glass houses are derived from modern greenhouse constructions," explains Roland Effgen. "The architecture takes a back seat, because the most important thing about the Flower and Butterfly House is the exhibits."

The costs for the new building amount to 8 million euros. 2.5 million euros will be borne by the Palmengarten and Botanical Garden Foundation, 5.5 million by the city of Frankfurt. From the municipal side, the Office for Building and Real Estate (ABI) is supporting the construction project during all project phases - from the preparation and announcement of the competition to the supervision of all trades. "For the Flower and Butterfly House, the challenge is to coordinate all the technical parameters for the well-being of the plants and butterflies and to combine them in a coherent design. This is ensured by a team of external specialist planners under the leadership of the ABI, which is also a competent service provider for unusual construction tasks of the city of Frankfurt am Main and is happy to collaborate on innovative solutions," emphasizes Jan Schneider, head of the building department.

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