Terri Meyer Boake BES BArch MArch LEED AP
Associate Professor :: Associate Director :: School of Architecture :: University of Waterloo

Niagara Butterfly Conservatory

Baird Sampson Neuert Architects Inc.
Yolles Partnership Structural Engineers

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario


Project Information:

The grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is home to one of North America's largest collection of free flying butterflies.

This year round exhibit showcases a wide variety of butterflies from around the world living in a lush, rain forest-like environment. A 183m network of pathways provides access for the physically challenged throughout the 1,022 square metre conservatory, allowing visitors a rare opportunity to watch numerous species of butterflies floating majestically among nectar producing flowers such as lantanas, pentas, and passion flowers.

The primary structure of the building is steel.

Project Images:

Exterior view of the building showing the combination of stone base and articulated glazing.
The building is largely covered by a greenhouse like enclosure with operable windows to vent excess heat.

The front entry has a canopy made comprised of a wood trellis on hollow steel columns.
Detail of the front canopy support system.

Interior handrail detail
Interior walkway.
The steel columns are covered with a fine metal mesh to support plant growth.
The stone walkways wind through the space, going through a number of elevational changes.
The complex multi faceted steel structure must be covered by a fine mesh to prevent the butterflies from coming in contact with the potentially cold glass.
Another view of the steel structure that supports the coomplex glazing.


These images are for educational use only and may not be reproduced commercially without written permission. tboake@sympatico.ca