Incorporating gardens

Iowa State University (ISU), Ames, incorporated an existing structure and gardens into a complex to serve students, staff and the community at the south entrance of its campus.

The architect used 3-D technology to engage ISU in its model-based design process, in which clients and consultants can view and manipulate electronic conceptual models from various angles and see how the project would function inside and out.

For ISU, the result was the highlight of the project — a sunny glass enclosure for more than 800 exotic butterflies of myriad sizes and patterns. The airy, transparent design uses silvery steel trusses as the backbone for the indoor garden and butterfly complex. The use of steel and glass invites sunlight through a glass roof, and an almost transparent V-shaped structure for the Butterfly Wing emulates a butterfly in flight.

The $8 million project integrates 14 acres of outdoor gardens and orchards. The building now provides space for a reception area, auditorium, cafe, gift shop, multipurpose room, five greenhouses and a plaza.

Architects Smith Metzger (Des Moines, Iowa) is the architect for this project.

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