Building Texas’ “Premiere Research Greenhouse”
- Feb 5, 2018
The University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences wanted to expand its greenhouse space by growing the school’s plant research program. The Beck Group was asked to build the project, as part of our ongoing work at the University.
Beck was tasked with building the new greenhouse on the roof of the Norman Hackerman Building (NHB). This involved effectively moving contents from the original greenhouse at Welch Hall to the NHB, a LEED Gold Certified facility.
The new greenhouse is complete and can be accessed by a direct connection to the building’s 6th floor. In total, it’s 7,200 SF, including 5,400 SF of true greenhouse space and an 1,800 SF headhouse. Additional space includes offices, a research layout area and storage.
Once construction ended, Beck Superintendent Tim Wilson led our team on a tour accompanied by special guest, Ann Harasimowitz, Director of Facilities and Safety for the College of Natural Sciences.
Harasimowitz, who called this project Texas’ “premiere research greenhouse,” provided the Beck team with unique facts on the greenhouse, explaining that its primary purpose is to study climate change in plants at the molecular and genetic levels.
The new greenhouse features six walk-in glass pods, each with its own adjustable climate controls that can be set from tundra to rainforest-like environments. The headhouse includes eight pre-fabricated growing chambers that had to be flown onto the roof. These chambers are reach-in and walk-in and provide smaller environments for plant research with additional controls.