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    Victorian Orangery to Grace Jagiellonian University Botanical Garden Once Again

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    The upcoming renovation of the Botanical Garden at Jagiellonian University, located on Kopernika Street, will include the recreation of a magnificent Victorian-style orangery. The restoration of this historical greenhouse, which stood in the heart of the garden for over 80 years, is expected to take 12 months. The modern facility will house a diverse collection of plants from Central and South America, serving educational purposes, as well as hosting conferences and cultural events.

    The concept for an orangery was initially proposed in the 1850s by the then-director of the Botanical Garden, Professor Ignacy Rafał Czerwiakowski. However, due to financial constraints, the project remained unrealized. Eventually, in 1882, Professor Józef Rostafiński managed to secure funds for the construction of a palm house, made of iron and glass, with a mansard roof, likely painted in the fashionable colors of black or graphite.

    The palm house faced technical issues, with large glass panels falling from the roof, causing damage to plants and posing risks to staff and visitors. In 1912, under the direction of Professor Marian Raciborski, necessary repairs were carried out, but further transformations were made in 1928, raising the building by 3-4 meters. Unfortunately, the palm house was dismantled in 1969, leaving only its masonry base and foundations.

    A Vision Revived

    The reconstruction of the Victorian-era greenhouse had been a long-awaited plan. The new orangery will mirror the dimensions of the 1882 palm house, reaching a height of 11.6 meters, or nearly 15 meters with its spire. The structure will feature a modern steel frame with a glass facade, topped by a glass mansard roof. The historically significant entrance will undergo a conservation renovation, and the building will be made accessible for people with disabilities. Energy-efficient systems, including a VRF heating-cooling system, will be implemented.

    The former palm house housed a collection of palms and tropical plants, some of which were gathered by Józef Warszewicz during his expeditions to South and Central America. With the reconstruction, the new orangery will be named “Oranżeria Warszewicza” to honor this historical connection. The plan includes the revival of the historical plant collection, as well as providing space for education, conferences, and artistic events.

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