The Climatron is a greenhouse enclosed in a geodesic dome that is part of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Initiated by the former director of the Missouri Botanical Garden Frits W. Went, the dome is the world's first completely air-conditioned greenhouse and the first geodesic dome to be enclosed in rigid Plexiglass (Perspex) panels. Completed in 1960, it was designed by T. C. Howard, of Synergetics, Incorporated. The broad climatic range within the dome, which recreates a lowland rain forest, is achieved by sophisticated climate controls without separating out the different sections using physical partitions.
The structure is an unpartitioned half-sphere dome, 42m in diameter and 21m high. The frame of the dome is supported by aluminum tubes and rods. The St. Louis architects Murphy and Mackey were the architects and Synergetics, Inc were the designers of the dome. The architects received the 1961 R. S. Reynolds Memorial Award of $25,000 for their architectural use of aluminum. In 1976, it was named one of the 100 most significant architectural achievements in United States history.
The dome contains a small stone pre-existing the neo-classical pavilion and over 400-varieties of plant life. A bank of 24 floodlights, revolving at night in five-minute cycles, simulates noon light on one side of the dome and moonlight on another side. The climate ranges from the Amazon through Hawaii and Java to India.
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