The Climatron at St. Louis Botanical Gardens - A gallery
Inside the Climatron
Inside and Outside the Climatron
What is the Climatron?
The Climatron at the St. Louis Missouri Botanical garden is an amazing thing. The Climatron was the world's first ever geodesic dome greenhouse. Buckminster Fuller patented the idea of a geodesic dome back in 1954, and by 1960 the Climatron was built. The idea was to get the maximum light and space for plants inside a structure that could help support itself without interior supports. The triangles used for this are light in weight but very strong. Because of the placement of the triangles, the stress is perfectly distributed among all. So the goal is achieved, and it is still standing today. The climatron is one of my favorite places to go when I need a good dose of "garden", especially in the winter months.
The architects of the Climatron, Mackey and Murphy won the Reynolds award in 1961. This award is given for architectural excellence in building a structure using aluminum. Another neat fact is that the Climatron was named one of the 100 most significant architectural achievements in all of United States History. I can see why, and the inside is an amazing place with waterfalls and hiking paths and fish tanks and exotic delights everywhere.
Here I share a few photos with you, but do know that they don't begin to do justice to how awesome the inside of this geodesic dome really is.
Photo 1 - The outside view of the Climatron is one of my favorites. You can get an idea of how big it is, and how the triangles all came together. The amount life going on on the inside is truly astounding to me. It is unlike any other greenhouse I have ever seen. You can see the Dale Chihuly glass art in the pond in front of the dome along with some sculptures.
Photo 2 - One of the waterfalls inside of the Climatron can be seen here. The pink flowers are very delicate and tropical looking as they dangle down almost like clusters of grapes. The white flowers are a bit more common. (See also photo 7 for a closer view of the pink flower). One thing of note, is that every time I go to the Climatron, there is something new in bloom that I have never seen before. Keep in mind that I love to go to botanical gardens whenever I can, and love books and magazines on the subject. So to me, that is one of the most amazing things I have found about the Climatron.
Photo 3 - One of the lush garden paths in the Climatron, where it often literally feels like a tropical rain forest. Up ahead is what looks like a huge fallen tree, with many things growing on and around it. It acts as a neat thing to walk under, and not far from here you can walk behind a waterfall as well!
Photo 4 - More lush grown of vines, leaves, flowers and trees. It truly never ends and just when you thought the trail ended, you can start up again on another level it seems. There are 3 entrances/exits that I know of.
Photo 5 - These trees are all amazing, but the ones with the big red flowers were truly amazing to me on this one particular visit. They were the "thing" I had never seen before! They were huge, and I am sure were the tree's (or huge plant's) flowers or fruit.
Photo 6 - Another lush path with palms and a few flowers. One of many such paths.
Photo 7 - Closer view of the pink flowers and the water coming down, as seen in photo 2.
Photo 8 - The Climatron itself, a bit more close up. This is just one side of it, but hopefully you get a feel for how big it is. The entrance doors there are one of many.
**To add, there is an area that shows how rice is grown. It gives some statistics how this one grain could feed the world, it is so interesting. Also, there are huge massive root systems coming out of the rice area, not sure exactly what those are, but as you can see I have a lot to learn and I look forward to doing so. Another neat thing is the cacao pods I often see growing there, that get very big. There are palms growing throughout as well, and their huge fans boggle the mind. Its like one got to really step out of the climate you are in, to enter a rain forest or something equivalent.