West Conservatory

As part of Longwood Reimagined, this garden space will open November 22, 2024.

Artistic rendering of a large indoor Conservatory garden filled with plants of various sizes, textures, and colors.
Immersive, Sweeping, Textured
Best Seasons to Visit
Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn

This garden oasis beckons you to stroll along airy pathways next to floating canals and lushly planted beds. Water is a central element—reflecting the sky, providing cool and serene visual breaks, and adding sound to the immersive experience. The glasshouse itself appears to be floating on the surface of a tranquil sheet of water. Flora from the warm, arid regions of the southern hemisphere and the vibrant, coastal landscapes of California thrive, each specimen a living testament to nature’s artistry. The beauty of this space is unforgettable, season after season, underscoring the legacy of innovative engineering, pioneering design, and horticultural excellence for which Longwood is celebrated.

About This Garden

Blending the visionary and the historic, the West Conservatory represents 32,000 square feet of meticulously designed glass and steel as reimagined by the architecture team of WEISS/MANFREDI. The peaked roof is modeled after our historic Lord & Burnham greenhouses, featuring asymmetrical peaks that recall the rolling hills of the surrounding Brandywine Valley. Arching steel columns and beams evoke the relaxed geometry of tree branches, creating a dialogue between cutting-edge, contemporary design and the natural lands surrounding Longwood.

Inside, the award-winning team from the landscape architecture firm of Reed Hilderbrand have reimagined a Mediterranean garden under glass, marrying horticultural expertise with dramatic expressions of water. Three planted islands are set on a pool of water, animated by bridges, canals, and low fountains, featuring surprising, colorful species from the landscapes of the Mediterranean, South Africa, Chile, Australia, and coastal California. The garden features more than sixty permanent species, including Acacia, bay laurels, cypress, Leucospermum, and Leucadendron.

Every technical aspect of the conservatory breaks new ground and continues Pierre S. du Pont’s commitment to engineering innovation. A state-of-the-art ventilation system utilizes earth ducts to capture and condition the incoming air, while computer-controlled windows, roof vents, and shades open and close in response to seasonal temperature fluctuations—creating a living, breathing structure in the process. Underground rainwater-collection tanks capture each drop from over one acre of rooftops, to be used for the water features in our displays. In addition, the 1,958 glass panels were engineered to keep our bird population safe, featuring reflective dots that ensure our avian friends still fly in friendly skies.