Wednesday, October 26, 2016

177. Schonbrunn Palmhaus ...

At last a sunny morning so I head back to Schonbrunn Palace to have a wander through the magnificent 19th century Palm House ...

It is the most prominent of the four greenhouses in Schönbrunn Palace Park, and is also among the largest botanical exhibits of its kind in the world.

Linked by tunnel-like passages, the pavilions contain different climatic zones: a ‘cold’ house to the north, a temperate zone in the central pavilion and a tropical zone in the south pavilion.

The Palm House is located on the site of the former Dutch Botanical Garden and was erected in 1881/2 to designs by Franz Xaver Segenschmid. Built of steel, it is 113 metres long and consists of a 28-metre high central pavilion and two lateral pavilions which are three metres lower.

The structure is covered with 45,000 glass tiles.

Several forerunners were built in the Palace Park in the 18th and 19th centuries, under Emperors Francis I and Joseph II. The present building was opened in 1882, under Franz Joseph I and since 1918 it has been run by the Bundesgärten (Federal Gardens).

Grown under glass in one of the other hot houses on the estate these magnificent yellow and white Chrysanthemums are used as display flowers to add colour to the Palm House. 

A heavy bomb attack on Schönbrunn Palace in February 1945 destroyed most of the glazing of the Palmenhaus. Many plants died, although some were saved by being transferred to the nearby Sonnenuhrhaus. The rebuilding began in 1948, and the Palmenhaus was reopened in 1953.

This impressive iron construction used the most modern technology of its time, with the materials determining its form. The proportions of the convex and concave lines of the central and lateral pavilions are perfectly balanced and endow the iron structure with a perceptible lightness despite its massive dimensions. Inserted into the framework of the external iron construction, the glazing clings to the curved iron girders like a skin. 

The varying temperatures are achieved by means of a steam heating system which means that rare specimens from all over the world can be grown here.


Emperor Franz Joseph commissioned the construction of the Palm House in 1882. Architect Franz Segenschmid had his hands full with its massive size of 2,500 square meters in area and 4,900 square meters of glass. 

Four sets of spiral stairs lead to a "mezzanine" level in the central pavilion. 


The Palm House is divided into three pavilions and three climate zones, which are connected to each other by tunnel-like corridors. The tallest room exhibits plants from the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands, South Africa, America and Australia. The northern room houses plants from China, Japan, the Himalayas and New Zealand. Tropical and subtropical plants grow in the third area. Plants on display in the Palm House include a 23 meter-tall palm and in spring/summer the largest water lily in the world (with a leaf diameter of 1.20 meters). Temperatures range between 8 and 17 degrees Celsius. 

Quite a spectacular feature within the grounds of this extraordinary estate - and a nice place to spend time in the warm climate while the temperature outside hovered around 9 degrees - even in the sunshine ...

Better look at some more indoors art in the next blog post ...