For Immediate Release: Tues., June 20
Contact: Julie LaBar | Director of Marketing and Communications
412/638-6008 ǀ jlabar@phipps.conservatory.org

Phipps Conservatory Honored with Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award
Palm Court restoration recognized for excellence and innovation in preservation practice

Pittsburgh, PA — Preservation Pennsylvania has awarded Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with a 2019 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award for the restoration of Palm Court, commemorating Phipps’ 125th anniversary.  Since 1979, the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards have honored individuals and organizations that have exhibited excellence in the field of historic preservation.  Preservation Pennsylvania, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to helping people protect and preserve the historic places that matter to them, held the awards ceremony on Wed., June 19 in Chambersburg, PA at the Pennsylvania Statewide Conference on Heritage.  

Phipps’ comprehensive Palm Court restoration included the return of the historic ogee after more than 80 years, restoring this crowning architectural feature to the Pittsburgh glasshouse for the first time since 1937.  The term “ogee” describes the distinctive architectural molding and arch curve formation that tops the glasshouse, returning the stunning skyline profile to its original design.  Dedicated architectural and construction teams replaced Palm Court’s wooden ribs with aluminum ribs, meticulously extruded to match the original profile from 1893.  They also replaced over 5,000 panes of glass using advanced state-of-the-art glass technology and incorporated stunning architectural features including fleur-de-lis cresting and towering 8-foot tall finials. In addition to historic design elements, the Palm Court renovation process included the addition of color-changing architectural LED lights to further enhance the guest experience. 

“The annual awards program is a wonderful celebration that honors passion for the past, applauds achievements in the present and inspires a history-rich future for Pennsylvania,” said Mindy Crawford, Executive Director of Preservation Pennsylvania. “We proudly recognize Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with a 2019 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award for their acclaimed Palm Court restoration project.”

Guests can see the award-winning Palm Court firsthand upon entering Phipps.  As the largest glasshouse room, this architectural gem inspires visitors with breathtaking plants, floral displays, renowned collections and special exhibits, currently featuring Summer Flower Show: Van Gogh in Bloom.  

Guests are invited to sponsor a pane of glass in Palm Court, including those located in the iconic ogee, at phipps.conservatory.org/restore or by phone at 412/622-6915 ext. 6054, with glass panes beginning at a gift of $100. Supporters will receive a frameable printed certificate with the pane coordinates for their selected section, making this a memorable gift or tribute. Donors will also be acknowledged through a special recognition display at Phipps. 


About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA is a globally recognized green leader with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Encompassing 15 acres including a historic 14-room glasshouse, 23 distinct indoor and outdoor gardens and industry-leading sustainable architecture and operations, Phipps attracts nearly half a million visitors annually from around the world. Learn more at  phipps.conservatory.org.

Photo © Paul g. Wiegman