The Trustees of Reservations – Naumkeag Greenhouses

Naumkeag was the Gilded Age Summer estate of prominent New York Lawyer Joseph Choate and his family. Designed by Stanford White of McKim Meade & White, it is known for its elaborate gardens, designed in the early 20th century by Landscape Architect Fletcher Steele.

At one point, the landscape was supported by a cluster of stately greenhouses set into a south facing slope. Now, all that is left of these structures are their stone foundations, some rusted iron connections, and the head house which once connected them.

The Trustees of Reservations, who own and manage the estate for public access, are exploring options to build a new structure on this site that would serve as both working greenhouse, and multi-use space to support year-round visitor activities. C&H joined the team to generate some Conceptual Design options that explored various options for the project.

Project Details

  • The horticultural portions of the prospective program include greenhouse space for seedling propagation, semi-conditioned areas for overwintering delicate perennial plants, and an orangery for growing fruit trees that otherwise could not survive a New England winter.
  • Conditioned spaces include public restrooms, a commercial kitchen space, and a large multi-use area that could be used for functions such as weddings or lectures.
  • Practical issues were considered, such as accessible parking and drop off options and positioning restrooms to usable without entry through the main building.
  • The project was designed to celebrate the history of horticulture at Naumkeag, and to enrich the experience of the 11,000 visitors who come to the grounds every year.
  • Several schemes included varying amounts of semi-sheltered outdoor space for event overflow or al-fresco cafe seating.