Eight years of planning will reach fruition Jan. 1, when the University will take over control of the new Botany building at the end of Divinity Avenue. The Canter Construction Company of Boston is now completing the project.
"The unusually favorable weather has made it possible for us to finish very early," stated Irving B. Parkhurst, Director of Buildings and Grounds. "The job has run extremely smoothly."
The contemporary-style structure, built on a Corporation allotment of $1,000,000, will serve as a library and herbarium. It is unique in that it will serve as a centralized research outlet for all the University's botanical organizations.
Besides the material now in the Gray Herbarium, which will close after the opening of the new building, the Botany building will include libraries and herbaria formerly included in the Botanical Museum, Biological laboratories, and Arnold Arboretum.
"The new building is a great achievement," declared Irving W. Bailey '07, professor of Plant Anatomy, "in that it took us over eight years to devise a scheme for incorporating a structure with so large a capacity into our budget."
Noteworthy among the herbaria to be exhibited are the Paleobotanical Collection from the Botanical Museum, and the inclusive Oakes-Ames Orchid Collection from the Biological laboratories.
Though seemingly falling into the category of botanical exhibits, the famous glass flowers will remain in the custody of the Peabody Museum.
A striking feature of the building is its lighting arrangement. For economy, ridged metal molds were used as matrices for the ceiling. Recessed between these ridges are fluorescent lights, which cast horizontal and diagonal shadows.
The Boston architectural firm of Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott designed the building.