Built 1988. Project Description: Carved into the earth, this conservatory is a dream-like series of soaring glass roofs that cap underground chambers set into a hillside. A below-grade courtyard with a lake serves as the entrance point for the various chambers. The central challenge to the architect was to design a conservatory that could withstand the harsh climatic realities of wind and sun. He produced a sculptural earthwork highlighted by glass towers which sparkle with changes in daylight. The bermed, earth-sheltered greenhouses of the conservatory complex house a variety of tropical and desert plants, emphasizing New World flora. Exhibits include ferns, palms, cycad, western cacti, tropical fruits, and flowering tropicals which could not survive in an outdoor collection. The Exhibition House features changing seasonal displays. The Conservatory encloses approximately one-half acre under glass, making it the largest conservatory in the Southwest. Project cost: $6.9 million. Project History: This project was established with a mix of city, federal and private funds. The San Antonio Botanical Society, in cooperation with San Antonio Parks and Recreation, raised the funds for the project and hired Emilio Ambasz. Their intention was to create a conservatory that would house non-native plant species. Sponsor/Developer: San Antonio Botanical Society Location: San Antonio, TX. Size: 90,000 sq. ft.