The Conservatory: Gardens Under Glass (Hardcover)
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2021 GardenComm Media Awards Gold Medal Winner, Publishing category
Elegant and magnificent, conservatories reveal fascinating social, cultural, botanical, and engineering advances as they have evolved across history. First appearing in the eighteenth century as simple structures designed to protect fruit trees and other delicate plants from harsh European winters, conservatories became grand glass houses that spread across the European continent, to the Americas, and ultimately around the world.
Through evocative archival and contemporary photographs, drawings of landmark structures, and graceful, accessible text, The Conservatory celebrates the patrons and designers who advanced the technology and architectural majesty of these light-filled structures. The importance of conservatories continues to grow with efforts to conserve phenomenal plants and their environments.
About the Author
Alan Stein is President and Director of Architecture at Tanglewood Conservatories, Ltd., founded in 1993 with his wife and business partner, Nancy Virts. The company's mission is to conceive and build the finest classical and modern glass conservatories. Tanglewood's work has been published in Architectural Digest, Garden Design Magazine, The New York Times, Town & County and other periodicals around the world. Alan studied design at the California College of Art and graduated from the University of Maryland with a professional degree in architecture. He lives in Maryland.
Nancy Virts is cofounder of Tanglewood Conservatories, Ltd., with her husband and business partner, Alan Stein. The company conceives and builds the finest classical and modern glass conservatories. Tanglewood's work has been published in Architectural Digest, Garden Design magazine, the New York Times, Town & Country, and other periodicals around the world.
"The Conservatory presents some of the most notable conservatories around the world, including grand glasshouses in London, Paris, New York City and Kyoto. The book’s stunning photos showcase the architectural might and beauty of the structures alongside information about their history."Waterways Magazine
"Filled with evocative archival and contemporary photographs and drawings of landmark structures, the book's graceful, accessible text celebrates those who advanced the technology and the architectural majesty of these light-filled structures."
- Florida Times-Union,
"Home gardening has seen quite a boom this year, too, and The Conservatory: Gardens Under Glass might be just the thing for the plant parent on your list. Conservatory architects Alan Stein and Nancy Virts walk readers through the social and historical significance of these structures, with the purpose of preserving and appreciating botanicals from around the world. The elegant photography and gorgeous edifices make it a stunning ornament for anyone's coffee table."
- Shelf Awareness
"Alan Stein and Nancy Virts' new book, The Conservatory: Gardens Under Glass, delves into the unique history of conservatories and the unique ambition required to bring them to life....[T]he book is a fascinating look at these special structures."
- The Detroit News
"Husband-and-wife duo Alan Stein and Nancy Virts knock it out of the park with this beautifully designed history of conservatory spaces, The Conservatory: Gardens Under Glass....This is the perfect gift for the architect, gardener, historian, or photographer in your life."
- Washington Gardener
"Illustrating their text with stunning photography, the authors Alan Stein and Nancy Virts survey the evolution of the conservatory in Europe, North America, and, ultimately, the world....The Conservatory makes a persuasive argument for the role of conservatories in our contemporary world. The authors' passion for the structures, and their admiration for the assiduity required to erect and tend them, similarly convinces the reader of their magic."
- The Dirt (ASLA)
"This beautifully illustrated volume tours historic glass palaces from 17th-century utilitarian orangeries for royalty to Victorian showhouses and modern-day new sustainable designs that aim to collect and preserve vanishing species. Authors Alan Stein and Nancy Virts lovingly detail the stories of 56 conservatories across the globe. Gorgeous photographs give you a glimpse of overlooked details and behind-the-scenes vignettes as well as sweeping vistas and historic snapshots."
- The American Gardener
"The image on the cover of The Conservatory - the magnificent interior of the Palm House at Kew Gardens - is a glorious way of explaining the title and indicating what this new book is all about....Alan Stein and Nancy Virts's book traces the origins of the conservatory starting in earnest from the 17th century."
- The Irish Times
"While you shouldn't necessarily buy a book based on appearances, this is certainly a book I would buy for its look. The large pages and oversized cover, along with the bright colors of the conservatories and plants, make this book so satisfying to look at and page through....This is the perfect gift for the architect, gardener, historian, or photographer in your life."
"Fun fact: The roots of modern-day conservatories stretch back to at least the 1700s, when they were created to shelter fragile flora from inclement weather. Trace the origins of these glassy masterpieces-and swoon over the leafy wonders they house-in this new volume, written by married conservatory builders Alan Stein and Nancy Virts."
- Boston Home
"The striking beauty and surprising capabilities of conservatories make it easy to see why they've been preserved and improved upon throughout history. In The Conservatory: Gardens Under Glass, Authors Alan Stein and Nancy Virts walk us through the fascinating evolution of conservatories."
- American Farmhouse Style
"Through archival and contemporary photographs and drawings, this book celebrates the glass structures originally designed to protect fruit trees and other delicate plants from harsh European winters."
- Publishers Weekly