Tropical Glasshouse for new Renzo Piano Science Museum

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Hugo Bugg Landscapes have been appointed by the Trento Museum of Science (MUSE) as design consultants working with Renzo Piano Building Workshop to design a fascinating Eastern Arc tropical landscape within the new science museum of Trento, Italy.

The top living attraction of MUSE, the 600 sqm tropical conservatory will recreate the living forests of the Udzungwa mountains, a biodiversity hotspot located in the Eastern Arc mountain chain of Tanzania. A vibrant and engaging display will capture visitor attention in an imaginative journey through the living rainforest.

HBL will design the plant journey starting from the Kiombero Valley with tropical crops, home vegetable gardens, and local villages.  The visitor will then climb uphill toward the pristine mountains rainforest or “msitu” in Swahili, becoming acquainted with a fascinating wealth of plants and animals.  Many native local trees and flowers will be presented together with their medicinal uses including, among others:

  • Trees Ferns (gen. Cyanthea)
  • Saintpaulias (common name African violet)
  • Wild bananas
  • Snuff box sea bean, a giant vine in the genus Entada

The conservatory will also be home to small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians including the giant elephant shrew, the colourful bird Livingstone’s Turaco, the giant one horned Meller’s Chameleon and many tropical butterflies.

All the display areas will be thought-provoking, engaging the visitor on sustainability issues, illustrating international cooperation projects for forest conservation and poverty alleviation, stimulating visitors to take active parts in supporting them.

The aims of the greenhouse include the following:

  • Direct Experience. Offer the visitor a unique opportunity to have a direct experience of a tropical living rainforest with a fascinating wealth of unusual plants and animals to compel the senses in an exotic and imaginative journey.
  • Diversity. Showcase the diversity of native species, indigenous crops, and the ethno-botanical knowledge connected to it, with special attention to the traditional use of plants and animals in tropical countries and the interconnections between nature and traditional plant uses.
  • Sustainability. Engage the visitor on sustainability issues with thought-provoking displays highlighting the global connections between the modern life and consequences of everyday actions on biodiversity.
  • Conservation. Maintain a conservation value to the display, connecting it to the biodiversity conservation activities in Tanzania, stimulating visitors to take an active part in supporting international cooperation projects for forest conservation and poverty alleviation.


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