The Cool Moist Conservatory seeks to capture and display the essential elements of a cloud forest environment in an abstract rather than literal way. The emphasis is on the impression of height, the creation of a cloudy, cool and moist atmosphere. At its heart is a 45m high abstract mountain structure, creating a sense of luminous green dripping vegetation with exquisite flowers and foliage.
The Mountain houses internal exhibitions, gardens, event spaces, a vertical circulation core, and supports 2 aerial walkways. The mountain also supports the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, composed of 10 individual spouts at different heights to control the flow and optimise the effect whilst minimises the acoustic impact.
Inspired by the maiden hair fungus, the mountain structure forms a lattice that wraps around the internal core and staggered floor plates. The concrete structure is covered in an epiphytic coat of plants that showcase plant life from the tropical cloud forest 1,000 to 3,500 meters above sea level.
The epiphytic coat is achieved through a layered planting matrix. At the base a ‘living render’ provides a porous and roughly textured surface for plants to cling onto. The render incorporates a proportion of organic material in the concrete mix to create moisture retention and rooting zones for epiphytes. Over the surface of the render planting pockets and shelves provide zones for bromeliads and larger specimens, with even larger soil pockets associated with the lattice apertures.