For Immediate Release: Thurs., Oct. 11

Contact: Julie LaBar | Director of Marketing and Communications
412/622-6915, ext. 3801 ǀ jlabar@phipps.conservatory.org

Phipps Conservatory Marks Completion of Palm Court Restoration, Commemorating 125 Years
Guests can experience Phipps largest glasshouse room newly renovated with over 5,000 panes of glass, crowning ogee, fleur-de-lis cresting and ornate finials.

Pittsburgh, PA— Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens' Palm Court renovation reached its final, historic milestone today with the installation of the final pane of glass, completing this major restoration. Guests can see this transformation firsthand upon entering Phipps, experiencing history in the making.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto joined Phipps President and CEO Richard Piacentini to announce the completion of the Palm Court renovation, commemorating 125 years. Mayor Peduto declared the month of October 2018 “Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 125th Anniversary Celebration Month” in a city proclamation, and construction crew members placed the final pane of glass on Palm Court during the dedication ceremony and unveiling.  

The Palm Court restoration is part of Phipps’ 125th anniversary commemoration, protecting and sustaining its treasured beauty for generations to come. Palm Court is part of the original nine-room glasshouse established in 1893 and is located at the heart of the conservatory. This architectural gem is the first room that guests experience at Phipps, inspiring them with breathtaking plants, floral displays, special exhibits and renowned collections. 

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.

Additionally, after over 80 years, Phipps returned the historic ogee crest to the exterior of Palm Court, 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 its stunning skyline profile to its original design. Seven aluminum trusses form the ogee, filled in with aluminum ribbing and over 700 panes of glass. 

Stunning architectural features also include decorative new fleur-de-lis cresting and towering 8-foot tall finials. The ridge fleur-de-lis cresting is a classic, striking element found in Victorian glasshouse architecture, with each distinct shape standing between 2 and 5 feet tall, totaling 90 feet in length atop the ogee. The renovation process included the addition of new color-changing LED lights which illuminate Palm Court, making Phipps’ upcoming Winter Flower Show and Light Garden the biggest, brightest yet. 

Guests can join in the 125th commemoration by sponsoring a pane of glass in Palm Court, including those located in the iconic ogee. Panes of glass can be purchased on Phipps’ interactive website — phipps.conservatory.org/restore — by phone at 412/622-6915, ext. 6054, or in person at the conservatory, with glass panes beginning at a gift of $100. Supporters will receive a frameable printed certificate with pane coordinates for their selected section, making this a memorable gift or tribute. Donors will be acknowledged through a special recognition display in Palm Court. 

To learn more, visit phipps.conservatory.org.

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About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA is a green leader among public gardens 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. Phipps commemorates its 125th anniversary throughout 2018, celebrating its historic past, vibrant present and exciting future ahead — including inspiring seasonal flower shows, community events, public programs and groundbreaking green innovation. Learn more at phipps.conservatory.org.