Blimey, who would have thought that I would find not only one but two Umbracles in Valencia? Yesterday I posted about my up and close encounter with the L’Umbracle in the City of Arts and Sciences. What a work of art that is! Modern, sleek and white it forms a perfect backdrop to 50 species of plants.
Online information describe this construction as a trellis. Today, however, I ventured over to the botanical garden in Valencia. And ta-da, there all of a sudden in front of me was another umbracle. This time translated to being a Shade House. The first one was the creation of architect Santiago Calatrava Valls and inaugurated in 1998. This one was designed in 1897 by architect Mélida Alinar. It’s purpose was to house the plants from the Tropical Greenhouse during the summer months.
Almost precisely a hundred years apart, together the two umbracles visually illustrate the difference in architectural approaches over time. Whilst the first is a wonder of white metal, the latter is composed by a series of brownish iron arches resting on ornamental brick plinths adorned by neo-Greek decoration. In 1990 the Shade House was rebuilt after a fire, and ornaments originally made from zinc were substituted by ones of identical design made of cast iron. A visit to both is highly recommended.