Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date



Architecture, in one of its more basic attributes, may be defined as man's attempts to create a differential barrier between the spaces set aside for certain specific functions and the untempered environment. In the design of this barrier, passage to and from the protected space would be allowed to certain elements of the environment, while other factors would be either retained or excluded. While these efforts were directed toward providing differential barriers between himself and his environment, man carried a useful set of gauges for the determination of the adequacy of the barriers within his own senses. When he was wet, he could feel it; if hot, he perspired. As long as the basic recognition of a situation which needed refining was tied irrevocably into his own skin, he could sense the problem immediately, and, armed with the basic data derived from his own comfort, set about to alter the situation in short order. As the scope of architecture expanded, however, it began to encompass certain functions which denied man the use of his senses as primary instrumentation to determine the validity of his architectural solutions. One of the first examples of this failure of man's senses to provide him with suitable feedback for the control of an architecturally defined space was in the construction of the early forcing houses and orangeries. When the chief user of the controlled environment became plants rather than man, an entirely new set of values came into play. Though plants existed in the same basic environment that man also occupied, their usage of that environment varied from man's needs; at times, drastically so. Therefore, unable to detect the exact needs of the plants brought into the artificially controlled environment, man was forced to use a trial-and-error system of determining suitability as the only recourse, until the so-called "Scientific Revolution" branched outwards to encompass the realm of horticulture. When scientific analysis began to be applied to indoor plant propagation, man finally had a tool that allowed him to respond intelligently to this problem, the solutions being limited only by the extent of his knowledge at any particular date. With the thought in mind then, that adequate response to the problems of greenhouse construction may only sprout from a fertile understanding of the needs of plants, the course of this paper is determined:

First, it will examine the science of plant physiology to determine the environmental requirements for plant growth as they are understood at this date.

Second, it will survey the history of greenhouse construction and glean from past practice those elements proven useful and valid in the business of growing plants under glass.

Third, it will combine the knowledge obtained through the first two sections to make recommendations for the design of the environmental systems of greenhouses.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Michel Louis Roger Pillet

Second Committee Member

Robert Carl Cohlmeyer

Third Committee Member

Gordon Verle Johnson

Included in

Architecture Commons