The Biodiversity Garden, Restoration of the Orto Antico | Padova | Giorgio Strappazzon Terra Viva Vi
The new greenhouses open at the botanical garden in Padova in the name of technology and innovation. The most ancient university botanical garden of the world (1545) improves for its technology and intelligence thanks the ambitious project of the italian architect Giorgio Strappazzon: a mix of futuristic architecture, green tech and research laboratories. Biodiversity is the basic concept characterizing the space, fully renewed thanks also to the acquisition of a wide area on the south side of the historical site, that will become a symbolical microcosm allowing the visitor to experience different climate conditions and vegetations present on Earth: as if the ideal “green carpet” covering the whole Planet surface were laid down, on a small scale, on the Garden’s soil.
In this age, in which environmental emergencies and non-sustainable development models are threatening the abundance and variety of animal and vegetal species, the new Botanical Garden will become the manifest of a different modernity and economical growth concept, respectful to the various environmental expressions. Five new greenhouses, inserted in a glass and steel gallery, will be the mainstay of the planning philosophy and will reproduce as many biomes, Earth areas characterized by climatic and vegetal uniformity. Following a north-south way, representing the itinerary along a terrestrial meridian, the visitor will walk through the main ecosystems of the Planet, from the tropical to the subarctic ones, to conclude with the most extreme conditions: vegetal life in space, where technology can make up for the absence of minimum survival requirements.
Besides the relationship between plant and environment, the one between man and plant will be also underlined: the economical employment of plants in different historical and geographical fields will be illustrated within a specific itinerary. The total safeguard of the cultural goods to be found in the Botanical Garden lies instead at the bottom of the current site’s restoration project.
The core of the project is to conceive as a “cultural good” not only the architectural and stone heritage, but also the vegetal one: therefore the restoration concept is global and will be applied both to historical spaces, such as the 19th century greenhouses, the surrounding walls, the fountains and statues, and to the most important plants needing didactic and scientific valorization; new spaces and structures will be created, in order to make plants more accessible and appreciable also by non-specialized visitors. Particular attention will eventually be paid on the new Visitor Centre, conceived as a bridge between city and nature, information and rest point, but above all as a space dedicated to reflection for those who leave urban environment behind and get ready to make contact with natural elements.