how do you turn a plant collection into a campus hub and destination?


The Global Flora Collection at the Margaret Ferguson Greenhouse holds a diverse selection of plants with historical significance for both Wellesley College and the greater Boston area. Wellesley chose Andropogon, in partnership with Kennedy Violich Architecture, to develop a new 5,785 SF greenhouse specifically designed to house this collection. Andropogon worked closely with the design team on both the interior and exterior of the greenhouse to create a rich, plant-centered journey for students and visitors. The greenhouse is being designed to the requirements of the Living Building Challenge.

On the interior, Andropogon developed themes that exhibit the evolution of plants from green algae to gymnosperms and angiosperms. The visitor’s path also highlights plant adaptations to the environment from dry climates to wet conditions. Throughout the journey, Andropogon designed a variety of seating and exhibit designs to engage visitors with the exhibits.

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The new greenhouse will act as an extension of the science center and provide an opportunity to study and compare plants native to different regions while exhibiting sustainable design and living processes.

The site design will reconnect the greenhouse to the campus by providing an accessible path along with the sloping site. Flexible outdoor space will be designed adjacent to a new visitor center, centered around a historic camellia; a gift from the college’s founder. Water runoff from surrounding buildings and the site will be captured, filtered, and reused for both the greenhouse and the site.


  • Location: Wellesley, MA
  • Size: 1.35 acres
  • Role: Landscape Architect of Record
  • Services:  Sustainable Site Design, Community (Student) Engagement, Institutional Visioning and Development, Stormwater Management, Green Building Certification & Documentation (LBC)


  • 2017 LafargeHolcim Award – Bronz