The earliest incarnation of this building, Victoria House, was established in 1868 and was re-built in 1957. All that remains of the original is the pond which houses both the Amazon Waterlily (Victoria amazonica) – the one with the humungous leaves – and the Blue Nile waterlily (Nymphaea caerulea).
The outside of the building has been transformed from the Victorian-style glasshouse of my first visit, to this amazing contemporary structure.
What I really like about this building is the attention to detail, including the doorhandles
and the etched glass waterlily design of the main doors.
Once inside, the building is dominated by the central pool. Unfortunately this is not the right time to see the Amazon Waterlily flowering. The foliage of the Amazon Waterlily with the spiky underneath of its leaves, evident even in its new growth, is interesting enough.
The Blue Nile Waterlily was more obliging in the flowering department.
The overall effect of being inside the building is one of being underwater. As you can see from the picture the pool reflects circular glass panels in the ceiling that mirror the giant waterlily leaves below.
The machinery for operating this pavilion is all on display. To the northern side are the ventilation windows,
between this outer wall and the central pool is an orchid and bromeliad garden.
Here the massed plantings make their own decorative display.
The building is a credit to the architects Flightpath Architects, who for reasons that remain unclear are not credited on the Botanic Gardens website.