Dezeen Magazine

Photo of Mendel's Greenhouse

Chybik + Kristof unveils steel-framed pavilion dedicated to "father of genetics"

Czech studio Chybik + Kristof has completed the Mendel's Greenhouse exhibition space in Brno, which celebrates the work of 19th-century biologist Gregor Mendel.

Positioned alongside the existing Mendel Museum, which occupies St Augustin's Abbey, the pavilion commemorates the 200th anniversary of Mendel's birth.

Aerial image of St Augustin's Abbey in Brno
Chybik + Kristof has completed Mendel's Greenhouse at St Augustin's Abbey

The former monastery building was historically an academic centre for developments in the study of genetics and where Mendel – considered the "father of genetics" – became the first person to discover the inheritance of genetic traits.

The site of Mendel's Greenhouse was chosen by Chybik + Kristof based on an original greenhouse that once stood in the monastery's courtyard, which was the site of the biologist's early experiments before being destroyed by a storm in the 1870s.

Exterior photo of Mendel's Greenhouse by Chybik + Kristof
The structure was informed by a former greenhouse at the monastery

"Our goal was to create a structure that would represent the historical significance of the original greenhouse where Mendel conducted his first pioneering experiments and laid the foundations of genetics," the studio told Dezeen.

"The reinvented greenhouse integrates into the courtyard area and preserves the essence of the original building, which was highly significant within the realm of genetics," it continued.

Exterior image of steel and glass pavilion in Brno
It is constructed from steel and glass

Informed by the original greenhouse, the new pavilion has a steeply sloping, mono-pitched form and a lightweight steel frame. An open interior is sheltered by the large overhang of its glass roof.

Its exposed structure is defined by a series of steel branches connected by nodes, which was designed by Chybik + Kristof to echo the diagrams used to depict Mendel's three laws of inheritance.

Inside, the single multifunctional space features a glossy concrete floor and large bowl-shaped planters suspended from the ceiling. Full-height sliding doors on either side open out onto the grass courtyard.

Primarily dedicated to a permanent exhibition exploring Mendel's legacy, the space is also intended to be used for lectures, conferences and other cultural events.

Photo of the facade of Mendel's Greenhouse by Chybik + Kristof
It has a mono-pitched roof

The roof is fitted with automatic blinds that allow the light level and temperature inside the greenhouse to be closely controlled, adapting to changes in the weather. They can also be closed for projections or screenings.

"Our efforts were devoted to maximising the openness of the floor plan, ensuring a continual and barrier-free environment," said the studio.

"Furthermore, its fully open side walls also allow for unobstructed views and eliminate any visual barriers," it continued.

Interior photo of an exhibition space in Brno
It functions primarily as an exhibition space

Based in Prague, Brno, and Bratislava, the architecture studio Chybik + Kristof was founded by architects Ondrej Chybik and Michal Kristof in 2010.

Its previous projects include a modular research centre in Visovice that doubles as a prototype for prefabricated construction and a pop-up marketplace in Prague that was created using reclaimed materials.

The photography is by Laurian Ghinitoiu.

More images and plans

Plan of Mendell's Greenhouse
Section of Mendell's Greenhouse
Drawing of Mendell's Greenhouse
Drawing of Mendell's Greenhouse
Axonometric drawing
Photo of Mendell's Greenhouse
Photo of Mendell's Greenhouse
Photo of Mendell's Greenhouse
Photo of Mendell's Greenhouse
Photo of Mendell's Greenhouse