2019 Events | A Celebration of Art & Architecture

Posted October 9th, 2019 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Community, Dynamic Glass, Events, Get Inspired, Insights, latest, The Arts
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Image courtesy of Melanie Biehle | Seattle Refined

Are you a lover of art, architecture, and nature?

Since the 19th Century, people have been drawn to the transparent nature of conservatories. They allow us to feel more connected to the natural world without being exposed to the elements. Today, architects, builders, and even artists, such as Dale Chihuly, continue to design and build conservatories to create this inviting atmosphere.

In Chihuly’s latest exhibition at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Ohio, Chihuly: Celebrating Nature, art, architecture, and the natural world collide in a bold, colorful expression!

“I want people to be OVERWHELMED WITH LIGHT AND COLOR in the same way that they’ve never experienced.”


At a young age, Chihuly became fascinated with old-world conservatories and greenhouses and began to travel the world to study them. Years later, as his passion grew, he began to host art exhibits inside the great botanical conservatories around the world, bringing art enthusiasts and garden lovers together to experience both in a new way!

If you haven’t already, visit Franklin Park Conservatory and EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF ART UNDER GLASS! For more information about the exhibition, click HERE!

CLICK BELOW to stay in touch about upcoming events, projects, renovation ideas and trends, garden escapes and more!

Meet Ann Green, the Rawlings Conservatory’s New Director!

Posted March 21st, 2019 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Community, Events, latest
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Article by Teresa Cook, Content Director | baltimorecooks@yahoo.com

Image courtesy of Rawlings Conservatory

Ann Green says she gets to work in a tropical paradise, so what’s not to like?

As the new director of that paradise, the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore, she loves to watch people’s reactions when they visit.

People are so blown away” by the plants and the building, and seeing that reaction is a real treat for her, she said.

Ann is not new to the Conservatory. She was the Volunteer Coordinator and Webmaster for seven years before her promotion to the top job.

Ann Green, Rawlings Conservatory Director

She’s always loved gardening. Growing up in the suburbs of Howard County, Ann said,

We three children were my mother’s and father’s little work horses. We did vegetable and flower gardening. It was the most fun chore there was, even weeding.”

Gardening has been a life-long passion since then. She tends ornamental, vegetable, and herb gardens in her yard in Baltimore, and cares for an extensive collection of houseplants.

With a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from St. Mary’s College and a master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Ann has a background in non-profit management and community engagement that she is eager to put to work to grow the Conservatory.

For her graduate degree, she had an internship with the Friends of Druid Hill Park and helped get the farmers’ market established. From there, she was offered the volunteer coordinator job at the Conservatory.

Working with volunteers is so rewarding! Their work amplifies what our staff does in really remarkable ways,” she said.

She appreciates those volunteers, too — “We have so many dedicated volunteers” who make contributions in caring for plants as well as providing programming and visitor services. 

Now in her new post, she said she’s extremely busy, taking care of the plants and the facility with a staff of just two full-time and six part-time employees.  “The staff are awesome.” And don’t forget the four-legged staff – Conservatory cat, Mango, is a favorite of Ann’s.

The programming at the Conservatory has made a name for the Rawlings, she said. Seasonal shows, cocktail events, children’s programming and other educational programs bring in visitors. Local art teachers bring students to do painting or illustration projects which are then shown in the Conservatory. It’s a busy place, even on a winter afternoon.

For the future, Ann said a big capital project is in the planning stages: The original 130-year-old glass Palm House needs renovation. Re-design of the outdoor gardens and enclosing it in a deer-proof fence is another hoped-for improvement on her wish list.

Ann invites visitors to keep coming back. “The Conservatory changes all the time, even if you’ve been here, there is something different in bloom now. It’s a wonderful place to visit throughout the year.”

Spring events coming up at the Rawlings Conservatory

Image courtesy of the Rawlings Conservatory

“The Gnome and Garden Show” – April 6-21. The Conservatory’s annual spring show features hundreds of flowers grown from bulbs arranged with other spring plants and, this year, a scattering of garden gnomes. See how many little guys you can find among the blooms! Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

Tree Baltimore’s Fruit Tree Fair, noon – 3 p.m. April 13. This year’s family-friendly atmosphere features a fruit tree giveaway, nature play space for kids, various environmental and community non-profit groups, food, and drink. Local emcee Alanah Nichole introduces various artists of all ages performing spoken word poetry and live music. Visit the vendor tents to learn about honey bees and native pollinators, plants for the orchard, and more! 

Community Gardening Day – May 23, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Help other volunteers, students and community members plant the outdoor gardens at the Conservatory and enjoy lunch provided by the Friends of the Rawlings Conservatory.

Visit Rawlingsconservatory.org for details on these and other events.

Visualize a Space That Creates and Supports Your Passions

Posted October 20th, 2016 by Nicole Mihalos and filed in Client Stories, Conservatory Projects, Steel Structures
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cast ironThe love affair between steel and the arts was birthed during the industrial revolution with the development of decorative cast iron. The malleability of first cast iron and then steel entranced designers who delighted in creating romantic flourishes including leaves, stars and even fanciful animals. As glass became affordable, it was coupled with both structural and decorative cast iron for the charming glass conservatories we know of from 18th century.

The manufacturing of steel and other metals has improved over time, giving them properties that allow our own ability to use them to also evolve. The result is new possibilities transforming conservatory design into thoroughly modern and special rooms with the old world flare that is so charming and desirable.

Storytelling in Steel

We love our clients! Their imagination gives us new challenges and takes us to new heights.

sequence-drawingOne client led us to a new discovery in the future of steel structure.  He dreamed of a glass conservatory that would have the charm and feel of mahogany yet constructed using steel to reflect his love of mathematics!

We puzzled over a few renderings but one late night drawing captured it all. To incorporate his passions we cut the Fibonacci sequence in the supporting steel beams! He loved the concept!

You may know it from The Da Vinci Code – either the book or the movie. A Fibonacci Sequence can be defined as a series of numbers in which each number ( Fibonacci number ) is the sum of the two preceding numbers.  The simplest is the series 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.

Charmed with our rendering, our client immediately saw his passions coming alive in his new glass conservatory.  Using laser cut steel we were able to create a pattern of circles using the sequence. Note elbows the elbow of each support is the largest circle. The three circles moving out from the biggest circle decrease in size according to their Fibonacci number. When it was built, he was thrilled at how we met and exceeded his expectations. It is now his favorite room
in his home!

bronze-deckAnother client envisioned a glass conservatory on a stone observation deck. The goal was to create it out of steel and bronze while retaining all possible old world charm. At the top, he suggested, should be a bronze roof-lantern-style cap that would cover the home’s elevator.

Our solution was to engineer a bronze exterior shell to contain the glass. Inside steel ribs emphasize the architecture and blend with the interior of the home.

In Partnership

One of the reasons our designs are so well loved is we partner with other craftspeople. To give our clients the best experience and quality, we are now the exclusive Mid-Atlantic dealer of Brombal Products. Brombal is well known for beautifully handcrafted Italian door and window systems. Carefully chosen partnerships like this one expand what we are able to offer our clients while maintaining our commitment to quality of materials and design.

The Art of the Glass Conservatory

We are more than just another conservatory manufacturer. The artistry that comes with designing and building glass conservatories with modern materials in the charming style of yore is what makes us America’s Premier Conservatory Designer and Manufacturer. We are truly artists, in love with our craft.

Connect with our Project Manager, Andrew Ruf, to begin the discussion of how your conservatory can inspire and reflect your passions – 410.479.4700




The Art of Design

Posted January 9th, 2015 by Bonnie Hall and filed in Conservatory Projects, General, Insights, latest
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Remember career day back in high school?  Guidance counselors and local business people all gathered in the auditorium talking about career choices and pathways.  Then there was always that one counselor that was the dreamer and spoke of finding your passion and everything else would fall into place.  Back then it all sounded so nebulous – how can a teenager know their life’s passion?

With that high school day forgotten many decades in the past and fast forward to working at TWC for several months now, I have had heard numerous times that it is the design element that Tanglewood brings to a project that sets us apart from others in our arena.  It is easy to prattle off the obvious reasons:

  • TWC has a full suite of architects, engineers and designers
  • We pride ourselves on our collaborative nature and working well with the homeowners’ team of architects and designers
  • We bring a historical perspective based on Tanglewood’s extensive travels, books and lectures series

Wanting to get a more in-depth understanding – I asked Alan his thoughts.  His response quickly brought me back to high school…

’We are architects and artists, not accountants and lawyers.
We create art and that just happens to fuel our business.
We do not compromise or concede to any business strategy that stifles our artistry.
Making money is a byproduct of our passion, the actual building process is the business that supports our artistic endeavors.’

Designing conservatories and greenhouses isn’t just the starting point of the process to get to a completed structure.  It is an artist creating a work of art that ultimately will become part of someone’s art collection.   Designing conservatories is the passion that ignites Tanglewood and it is that passion that then builds these stunning structures.  As Alan states, ‘If we were to just design a building, there is no art, no passion.’   Tanglewood is in business to create art.   Our conception was the result of stumbling upon a passion:  historic conservatories & creative design.   Many marketing manuals have been written extolling the practice of determining your value proposition.   At Tanglewood, it is simple.  We create art – that takes the form of conservatories.  That is our passion.

Turns out your guidance counselors were right on career day – find your passion, make it your job and the ‘business’ of it will follow.

Tanglewood Hand Drawing and finished project

Tanglewood Travels: Longwood Gardens – A Look Back

Posted August 20th, 2014 by Bonnie Hall and filed in Greenhouses, Travels
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Tanglewood’s inspiration is ignited and fueled by our research and visits to many of the historic conservatories throughout the world.   We are very fortunate to have the luxury of living very close to many of these historic sites.  We are certainly blessed to have several literally right in our backyard – Wye Orangery, Druid Hill and Longwood Gardens to name just a few.  Many of Tanglewood clients have also been inspired by various historic conservatories and often ask if we can incorporate some of the distinct architectural details into their design.  Alan recently visited Longwood Gardens to shoot pictures of the beautiful greenhouses, conservatory and gardens for his upcoming book on great public conservatories.  We thought you would enjoy the history of this amazing property as much as we did.

Originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by fellow Quaker George Peirce, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA is one of the premiere botanical gardens in the United States.  With over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows, visitors can experience exotic plants and native flora, indoor and outdoor displays and a full schedule of events, performances, seasonal attractions as well as educational lectures, courses and workshops.

Longwood’s ‘roots’ can be traced to the native Lenni Lenape tribe that fished local streams, hunted and planted fields.  In fact, many quartz spear points have been discovered around the property.  In 1730, George Peirce’s son, Joshua built a brick farmhouse on the property that still stands today.  In 1798, the great-grandsons of George began planting an arboretum that soon covered 15 acres.  Originally called ‘Peirce’s Park’, it has been open off and on to the public since the late 1700’s and by 1850 had amassed one of the finest collections of trees in the nation.  The park became a grand venue to hold family reunions and picnics through the mid to late 19th century.

Peirce Park 1884 now Longwood Gardens
Peirce’s Park, 1884 Photo: http://longwoodgardens.org/history/1700-1906

Early in the 20th century, the park fell out of favor and the arboretum deteriorated due to lack of attention.   Passing through several owners, a lumber mill operator was contracted to clear cut trees from a 41 acre parcel in 1906.  This threat prompted one resident of the Delaware Valley to take action to prevent the decimation of such an historical landmark.

July 1906 Pierre duPont purchased the farm to save the trees – but his vision extended far beyond just saving the 41 acre tract.  The expansive enhancements and improvements that visitors enjoy today can be traced back to the vision and actions of Mr. duPont.  Certainly influenced by his family’s long-standing tradition of gardening and funded through his success within corporate America, Pierre DuPont would become one of the country’s most premiere and influential gardeners.

duPont laid out the first garden in 1907 – a 600’ long Flower Garden Walk, which is still in existence today and continues to be one of Longwood Gardens most popular gardens.

Garden Walk Longwood Gardens
Flower Garden Walk with cornfield beyond 1909. Photo: http://longwoodgardens.org/history/1906-1916
















Buoyed by the recent successes of the Flower Garden Walk and the subsequent open Air Theatre, duPont was searching for a way to combat the oftentimes dreary winter.  A project to extend the original Peirce house, which connected the new and old wings with a conservatory, was devised – Longwood’s first winter garden.  Presented to his new bride, Alice as a wedding gift in 1915, the conservatory featured a courtyard with exotic plants and a small marble fountain.

Peirce House Conservatory Longwood Gardens
Architect’s rendering of addition to the Peirce-duPont House. Photo: http://longwoodgardens.org/history/1906-1916




















A much larger, grand conservatory was under construction by 1916.  The stunning conservatory was opened in 1921 and filled not with the usual choice of exotic species that was all the rage, instead fruits and flowers were used in a decorative manner that emphasized their horticultural importance.

Construction of the Grand Conservatory at Longwood Gardens
Construction of the Conservatory, 1919 Photo: http://longwoodgardens.org/history/1916-1926





















Grand Conservatory Exhibition Hall at Longwood Gardens
Eastern Guernsey Breeder’s Association luncheon in Exhibition Hall, 1925


















The technology utilized was state-of-the-art for that time period and all systems (heating, water, power) were hidden in tunnels so as not to distract from the views of the glass-covered conservatory.  The conservatory is a 4 ½ acre greenhouse housing 20 indoor gardens and over 5,500 types of plants.  The conservatory’s Exhibition Hall, with its original sunken marble floors, has been used over the years for special exhibits and events.  The floors are typically filled with water to reflect the foliage, but when used for events, the floors are drained.

Photo by Tanglewood Conservatories
Photo by Tanglewood Conservatories

Current Picture of Exhibition Hall at Longwood Gardens
Photo by Tanglewood Conservatories

Over many succeeding years, duPont’s vision and execution of gardens, fountains and musical venues flourished.  By the mid 1930’s Longwood had grown from the original 202 acres to 926.  After duPont’s death in 1954, the trustees of the Foundation assumed the helm and focused on transforming the private estate into one for the public.  New gardens, along with a plant nursery, an experimental greenhouse and a newly created Department of Education were created.

In addition to the public-display cultivation, Longwood Gardens has had a prolific history of propagation and experimental gardening.  None of these histories are more interesting than that of the V. amazonica, a freakishly large water lily that inspired and forever changed architecture!



Tanglewood’s next blog will take an in-depth look at how this lily forever changed the course of history and the impact on conservatory architecture.  Email us to receive a first sneak peek at this article!

More photos of Longwood Gardens








Greenhouses vs. Conservatories

Posted November 21st, 2008 by Alan Stein and filed in General
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I just spoke with an architect about an interesting conservatory project he was working on. The design was for a green house that was to be reminiscent of an old-world conservatory to be used as a showcase for a botanical collection.

I wanted to point out the differences between a typical “modern” wood frame conservatory, the kind that is often used to expand and enhance living space and an actual greenhouse.

Many companies will use their wood conservatory system – systems which are designed to enclose living space, as a greenhouse. This has two problems. The first is that the structure itself is not designed to handle the environment and the functionality of a greenhouse.

The second, is that these systems will never begin to capture the exquisite lines and proportions that are the extraordinary feature of the greenhouses of the nineteenth century. They are reasonable facsimiles to the untrained eye no doubt, but not the real thing.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

The project shown here:

Dome Interior View

is the interior of the dome of a greenhouse that we built which uses small overlapping panes of glass to effect the curvature of the domes. This technique allows the structural members to be much lighter than a typical wood conservatory. It also allows for the modulation in their sizes that adds interest to the structure. This is much more characteristic of the older historic conservatories.

Compare the interior look of the dome shown in this picture:

Interior of Dome

one of Tanglewood’s “modern” wood conservatories, to see the difference.

Also compare the character and detail of the exterior of the dome shown here:

Classic Cupola

with that shown in the picture here:

Curved Glass Dome

The smaller pieces of glass in the top picture are even scalloped at the bottom, a small but crucial detail!

Though Tanglewood designs and builds many of its hardwood conservatories as elegant living spaces, when asked to design and build a greenhouse, we look to their historical roots. These elegant, romantic and oftentimes sheer feats-of-engineering can’t help but inspire anyone who looks closely at – and cares about the details.

As a tribute to these great grandfathers of the conservatories we design and build, we’ve added a new section to our website called “Our Heritage” in which we will showcase many of our favorite examples. Some are very well known, some mainly undiscovered. Most are American, many already renovated, some in much need of loving care.


What is a Conservatory?

Posted May 22nd, 2008 by Alan Stein and filed in General
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Defined as a room made of windows, differing from a room – such as a sunroom or sun porch, whether it be manufactured or stick built – with windows in it, a properly designed and built conservatory is not comprised of mass manufactured windows but instead is created from individual glass panels, or “windows” if you will, that can be fashioned from a myriad array of available glass with widely varying characteristics.

Confused by claims touting a particular brand or type of glass as better or best, people often ask Tanglewood what glass we use in our conservatories, or which is the best type of glass to use in a conservatory. The answer is both simple and complex. The glass we use is the glass that will produce the results that you desire, and the best glass is the glass that will best achieve those desired results. There is no one size fits all, with the only constant being that all of the windows and doors made at Tanglewood for our discerning clienteles’ one-of-a-kind conservatories is Argon gas filled to precise tolerances to ensure maximum insulating capability; all roof glass and door glass, and windows with glass closer to the floor than eighteen inches, is tempered as per the International Building Code (IBC).

If you plan to set up your easel and paint in your conservatory, you will appreciate the features of a soft coated glass that reduces glare while minimizing distortion of the natural daylight color spectrum. Those of you whose homes are located where intense light and heat rise to the extreme ranges will want to seriously consider heat mirror glass—especially on the roof –to make climate control of your conservatory more manageable. If you reside in a heavily wooded area populated with large trees, laminated glass affords enhanced safety and protection from the potential intrusion of heavy limbs.
You’ll be most pleased if you are among the many that enjoy specimen plants with the specialty glasses featuring properties that reduce the potential of foliage burn while providing optimum light transmission for growth and maintenance. And yes, we’ll even design leaded and stained glass windows just for your conservatory in any style, period or motif that pleases you, whether it is grandly spectacular, light heartedly whimsical, or incorporates an element of nature. If you want to add something else to your conservatory then you should check out these conservatory lighting ideas, to help you really complete your conservatory look.

We’ve mentioned just a few circumstances necessitating specific types of glass to meet individual needs. Most clients’ requirements are not characterized by such exacting criteria, and can readily be accommodated with one of the many glasses produced in a selection of grey, bronze or green tint levels from nearly invisible in intensity to heavily shaded.

Today’s selection of high performance glass makes it possible for us to design your Tanglewood conservatory with your comfort and perspective as our principal consideration. This is why we say that the best glass is the glass that’s best for you. All glass is made from the same basic ingredients and comes into being in essentially the same way. How it is heated, treated and otherwise enhanced makes it distinctive and defines its suitability for your individual application. Tanglewood is not affiliated or aligned with a single glass manufacturer, so our only commitment is to you, not to a glass manufacturing company or brand.

Greenhouse vs. Conservatory

Posted April 18th, 2008 by Alan Stein and filed in General
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What’s the difference? According to Webster’s, there isn’t any. If one looks up the definition of a conservatory, it will tell you that it is a greenhouse. Both are glass rooms in which plants can be grown. But just as a violin and a fiddle are the same instruments, there the similarity ends. The way in which they are played makes all the difference.
It is the way in which a conservatory is used that distinguishes it from a greenhouse designed exclusively for the nurturing of plants.

While some greenhouses offer design features that set them apart from the purely utilitarian, they usually are not designed to be living spaces so do not offer the creature comforts we expect from the environments in which we live.

A conservatory on the other hand is suitable not only for growing plants, but also accommodates the opportunity for a myriad of activities. Dining under the stars, luxuriating in your private spa, enjoying fireside conservation with family or friends, are just a few possibilities suggested.

Whether it be an extension of your home, or a freestanding garden or poolside venue, an appropriately designed conservatory can fulfill both your needs and your dreams—including those of growing beautiful plants– by creating a year ‘round living space that is unlikely to achieve with the common greenhouse.