Conservatory of Flowers

Conservatory of Flowers Architectural Restoration and Rehabilitation - ARG

Originally constructed in 1878, the Conservatory of Flowers is the oldest building in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. After a series of storms dealt the final blow to the building’s deterioration, it was closed for a six-year restoration. The effort, led by Architectural Resources Group, included conservation, restoration, rehabilitation, lateral strengthening, and new mechanical and electrical systems. In the process, the entire building was taken apart and reassembled, and every one of the thousands of clear-glass panes was replaced.

What You Won’t See

The wood arches that support the Conservatory building were thinned down slightly to allow steel plates to be spliced in, significantly strengthening the structure.


The dome was built on the ground and lifted onto the building. It fit within 1/16”.


It’s pretty hard to hide utilities and piping in a glass building. So we dug a trench under the interior walkway to route pipes for water and heating, and covered it with a cast aluminum grill with a Victorian design.


Each year in the spring the glass is whitewashed to mitigate the light coming in. Winter rains wash it off, letting in more light during the darker months.


For a full list of honors received by the Conservatory of Flowers, click here.

Photography by David Wakely

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