Monday, February 24, 2014

Santos Museum of Economic Botany

Sometimes museums which might sound rather dull (to design aficionados such as myself) can be held in the most astonishingly beautiful buildings. Such is the case with the Santos Museum of Economic Botany at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, Australia which my penpal recently sent to me.
This little classical gem of a building from 1879 was just extensively and sensitively renovated. The structure wasn't built as the Greek temple it resembles but rather as the science museum it remains.
The ceiling is a good example of how the Victorians were able to meld together decorative detailing with highly detailed and rather commercial looking steel structure. I love the gilded mechanical vent. If you can't hide it -make a feature of it!
The collections themselves are just as decorative as the building - these rather amazing Victorian models of mushrooms above are entirely made of wax! I remember even as a child going to the Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh which at the time was the science museum (now the Children's museum of Pittsburgh) and being more interested in the beautiful building than in the exhibits themselves. Design inspiration can come from the most surprising places, no?

7 comments:

Nancy {at} powellbrower at home said...

You are making me museum hungry! This is spectacular, and they all are masterpieces! Have a great week Stephan. xo Nancy

Pura Vida said...

The mushrooms are incredible!

Karena Albert said...

Wonderful inside and out!
xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Nancy they do look good to eat! I guess with some kids if you can't interest them with science, interest them with the building and they might learn something!

Chronica Domus said...

I have never heard of this place. How very wonderful! I felt the same way growing up in London and being taken to the Natural History Museum. The building always looked impressive to me as a child, what with all those gargoyle and animal terracotta ornaments surrounding the exterior, and carved pillars of foliage inside.

Mark Ruffner said...

Who knew there were cobalt blue mushrooms out there in the world!? What I find interesting about this lovely little building is the feeling of solidity, rather than the airiness I associate with most Classical architecture.

Henhurst Interiors said...

It's all beautiful. Not sure when or if I will ever make it to Australia, but I will make a point of visiting the Children's Museum in Pittsburgh, if only to see the architecture.

All best,
Phyllis