How many ways can a glass conservatory be used?
Hluboká nad Vltavou is the large name of a tiny 100 year old town with a population of about 5,000 in the Southern Bohemian area of the Czech Republic. The town’s castle, first built in the Gothic style in the 13th century, has been rebuilt numerous times. The latest version is the result of Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordering it reconstructed in the Romantic style of Windsor Castle in England in the 19th century.
As part of that reconstruction a charming glasshouse was added, bridging the castle with the riding school. As far as we know, this is a unique use for such a structure, but it does conjure some interesting ideas.
The construction of the glasshouse is a fine example of combining intricate cast iron with glass made possible by the beginning of the industrial revolution. The cast iron allowed lovely detailing on larger pieces; you’ll see pillars strewn with flowers and other decorations actually cast into the iron that supports the glass roof. Part of the reason for the conservatory was to create a warm space for the winter garden.
The detailing is amazing. Not just in the (very expensive in those times) detailing in the cast iron orten formed into small, decorative shapes, but in the unique stairway. Wrought iron makes up the stair which has then been covered by glass!
Care was taken to make the outside of this glasshouse visually match the castle; the inside looks whimsical but is strongly built to last while it protects the garden. There are more construction details here.
The castle, its glasshouse, and the surrounding gardens make an exciting destination. The castle is considered by many as one of the most beautiful in the Czech Republic and is a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic. “The contrast between the heavy masonry work and the filigree cast-iron ornamentation is a shape-forming architectural element.”
It can be fun, if you visit the Glasshouse at Hluboká, to see what features you might want to duplicate or what ideas they may spark for a conservatory of your own.
What we at Tanglewood so love about this glasshouse is the contrast between the outside and the inside coupled with the details – obviously they loved details as much as we do.