Historic buildings restoration
The Garden is statutorily protected Monument of garden architecture since 1971, as well as part of the Cultural heritage of Republic of Croatia (Lower Zagreb ‘Green horseshoe’), not only for its collections (which are the most important) but also for the preserved original layout and the historic buildings. The oldest historic buildings are those from the end of 19th century; the Gardener’s house, the Main entrance portal and wrought iron fence, the Fountain with basins, the Exhibition greenhouse and the Exhibition pavilion. From 1900 to 1930s Public toilet, western part of the fence, Water well and engine room and the Physiology department house were built. Building and alterations from 1940 onward did not radically change the existing buildings, rather the garden space due to establishment of new collections. Original buildings were maintained as functional space, with first major ‘cosmetic’ renovation prior to the Garden’s 100th birthday and the Zagreb student Olympics (Universiade) in 1989. With financial support of the City of Zagreb we started the thorough restoration of our historic buildings in 2006, in accordance with strict conservation rules. Water fountain and basins were restored in 2005/6, followed by reconstruction of Exhibition pavilion (2006/7) and the Main entrance portal (2008). Restoration of the unique Exhibition greenhouse (the only such building in Croatia) started in 2015.
The Exhibition pavilion and the Main entrance portal restoration
Exhibition greenhouse restoration
Surely most valuable building in the Garden is its Exhibition greenhouse, built in 1891 for the purpose of cultivating exotic plants. It was open to public until the beginning of the 20th century, when the collection was to big for a small greenhouse, leading to its permanent closing. Since then it was maintained and used only for growing different plant collections, not for public display. Functionality was never lost, but the ornamental appearance was largely gone due to necessary alterations and repairs.
After the Exhibition pavilion was restored we begun to prepare detailed documentation necessary for the restoration of the greenhouse; from the ‘Analysis of the current state and guidelines for restoration’ and the ‘Concept design’ to final ‘Main project’, ‘Project design’ and issuing all building permit several years passed. Again thanks to the funds donated by the City of Zagreb, the first phase of restoration started in 2014/5, with work in basement floor. Second phase started in 2016, encompassing full restoration of the basemen and the northern brick building. Previously used for the coal furnaces, the basement should accommodate a small modern lab with a seed bank, and partly the ‘Shade house’ or a ‘fernarium’ for display of different ferns. The most complex and the most expensive phase of the restoration is yet to come – the reconstruction of greenhouse metal framework with glasses, and the interior equipment. We hope this small jewel will shine completely restored before the 130th anniversary of the Gardens founding year.