Botanical Garden will open new modern building with lecture hall and winter garden

Photo: Ota Blahoušek
Wednesday 10 April 2024, 12:00 – Text: Šárka Chovancová

A new multi-purpose building in the Botanical Garden of the Palacký University Olomouc Faculty of Science, which will be inaugurated Wednesday 24 April 2024, will offer a lecture hall, a conservatory, and high-quality sanitary and technical facilities to the academic community and the public. The preparation of the project for a modern, low-energy building started three years ago. The construction alone required an investment of €1.2 million.

The Botanical Garden is located near Smetana Park and is the oldest area managed by the Faculty of Science. The original building on the garden grounds was built more than a hundred years ago, so its technical condition did not meet current needs. The management of the Faculty of Science therefore considered whether to renovate the old building expensively or to build a new building.

“The most economical solution turned out to be the construction of a new building in the front part of the garden. The new building will not only provide space for administrative facilities, but also a hall in which classes and public events can be held. This should not only expand the possibilities for practical teaching using the valuable botanical collections we care for, but also provide a platform for public events in an interesting environment,” said Martin Kubala, Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Josef Otruba Lecture Hall

The core of the new building is a lecture hall named after Josef Otruba, an important Moravian botanist of the first half of the 20th century. “We decided to name the hall after Josef Otruba for several reasons. Firstly, he managed the garden for thirty years, and thanks to his care, the plant collections survived the difficult period of the Second World War. In addition, he was a great field botanist who discovered a number of new and rare plant species, and not only in Central Moravia. He also contributed to the declaration of several small protected areas in Haná,” said Václav Dvořák, Director of the Botanical Garden.

The modern hall has a capacity of 50 seats and is equipped with audio-visual equipment facilitating the organisation of conferences, lectures and screenings. It will be used not only for teaching students, but also for public events such as talks or exhibitions. “We would like to hold exhibitions in the hall in six-month cycles with natural history themes, either professional or artistic. We believe that the Olomouc cultural scene will soon adopt the unusual format as its own,” said Dvořák.

Low-energy building with conservatory and rooftop view

The new building includes a conservatory with tropical and subtropical plants from the collection of the Department of Botany of the Faculty of Science, among which there are the mango tree, the Malabar plum, and the Canary Islands Rumex lunaria L. Thanks to the new building, the garden has also acquired state-of-the-art sanitary and technical facilities and, fortunately, an unconventional rooftop observation deck, which will be accessible on tours.

The new building was designed in a passive standard to ensure that its operation was not demanding as regards energy and water consumption. “We have adapted the technologies used for this, such as photovoltaic roof panels, a heat pump, and heat recovery. Nor did we omit a green roof, a rainwater retention tank, and a trellis system on the façades for climbing plants,” added Dvořák.


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