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Wednesday, June 12,2013

Eye candy of the week

by Amanda Harrell-Seyburn
Property: Hunter Park GardenHouse, 1400 E. Kalamazoo St., Lansing

Owner: Operated by Allen Neighborhood Center

It’s been a few years since the GardenHouse made its appearance on Lansing’s East Side, the result of a statewide Cool Cities grant in 2008. You’ve probably grown accustomed to the presence of the 30-foot-by-96-foot structure when passing Hunter Park or entering its space for programs or workshops. But how many times have you thought about greenhouse architecture? From the structural to the aesthetic form, greenhouses are incredibly interesting.

Cool house, glasshouse and conservatory are all names for structures that, at the end of the day, are greenhouses where plants grow. Greenhouse architecture has changed little in the last century and the principles are straightforward. Whether encased in glass — al la Belle Isle Conservatory — or plastic, the design works the same. The exterior glass or plastic allows air to filter in, trapping it and warming it up with sunlight. Presto: year-round growing.

Greenhouses are not only functional, but also a visual delight. The transparent structures are a sharp contrast to the solid walls and small openings of most buildings in temperate climate areas like Michigan. Plus, it’s just fun to be inside. Rita O’Brien, GardenHouse program manager, said it’s become a community gathering space not just for gardening, but also tai chi.

If you don’t think about greenhouses, how much are really paying attention to architecture around you?


“Eye Candy of the Week” is our look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.

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