Date: 27 December 2004
It is designed specifically to house an Amazonian rainforest exhibit illustrating the evolution of life on earth, according to the architects.
UV light helps produce vitamin D, essential to the animals in the living ecosystem inside the greenhouse. Typical animals indigenous to the Amazon rainforest range from crocodiles to anaconda snakes, tortoises, beetles, ants and capibarras (the largest species of rat in the world).
DuPont was able to satisfy the museums specification by supplying a "UV-breathable" grade of its SentryGlas© Plus structural interlayer that allows UV rays to pass through. Most other types of laminated glass interlayers including polyvinyl butyral (PVB) - need a UV stabilizer for their manufacture that automatically blocks out UV rays.
Architects usually consider the UV block an advantage because it reduces the fading of fabrics and furnishings. However in this case, the block would have prevented the Amazonian rainforest section of the museum from being the complete ecosystem recreation the biologists and architects had dreamed of.
DuPont SentryGlas© Plus Venture Manager L. Todd Becker said: "Our structural interlayer is so stable that you dont need UV-stabilizers to manufacture it. We have experienced demand for a UV-breathable grade that is just as strong and safe as regular laminated glass containing SentryGlas© Plus from several architects worldwide wanting to create similar rainforest-type greenhouses containing both plant and animal life."
Francesc Arbos Bellapart of Bellapart Engineering, located near Barcelona, wrote the engineering specifications for the greenhouse and the laminated glass for the project was manufactured by Saint-Gobain Glass.