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Additional Resources

Visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden website, and specifically to learn more about the Lucile Halsell Conservatory. Download the San Antonio Botanical Garden Fact Sheet and Garden Map.

For additional information on the San Antonio Botanical Garden Lucile Halsell Conservatory, please visit the architect Emilio Ambasz’s website and the Emilio Ambasz Virtual Museum website.

Case Studies

Emilio Ambasz Virtual Museum; Emilio Ambasz & Associates; Guido Construction; CST Industries; archilovers; Clio; Tres Fromme; Wikipedia.


Watch the May 22, 2024 3:40 San Antonio Botanical Garden: Lucile Halsell Conservatory – Featured Project video from on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube; April 4, 2024 3:16 Ambasz Virtual Museum – San Antonio Botanical Center Lucile Halsell Conservatory by Linda & Aramis Velázquez on the Emilio Ambasz Playlist on YouTube; 2021 0:57 Lucile Halsell Conservatory Exhibit Room by the San Antonio Botanical Garden and the 2021 0:51 Lucile Halsell Conservatory Fern Grotto by the San Antonio Botanical Garden on YouTube.


May 22, 2024 Featured Project: San Antonio Botanical Garden Lucile Halsell Conservatory by Linda Velazquez in; December 9, 2020 Tropical conservatory and origami sculpture at San Antonio Botanical Garden by Pam Penick in Digging; November/December 2019 Lucile Halsell Conservatory Receives the TxA 25-Year Award by Editors in the Texas Architect Magazine; December 16, 2012 Cityscape: Lucile Halsell Conservatory at San Antonio Botanical Garden by Tracy Hobson Lehmann in My San Antonio.

The Lucile Halsell Conservatory from the Architect Emilio Ambasz:

Inspired by the late San Antonio philanthropist Gilbert Denman and designed by Emilio Ambasz, the Lucile Halsell Conservatory is a complex of greenhouses located in the hot, dry climate of southern Texas. Unlike northern climates where traditionally glazed greenhouses maximize sunlight, the climate of San Antonio requires that plants be shielded from the sun and the cold winds coming down from Canada.

Emilio Ambasz’s design uses the earth as a container and protector of the plants, controlling light and heat levels by limiting glazed areas to the roof. This innovative design concept significantly decreased the need for expensive mechanical systems, thereby reducing the overall cost of the building by over 20%.


Established in 1980, the San Antonio Botanical Garden sits on 38 acres and is a world-class garden recognized for outstanding horticulture displays, botanical diversity, education, conservation, and experiences that connect people to the natural world.

Its Vision states the Garden embraces the sense of place that makes San Antonio unique. Its Mission is “Enriching lives through plants and nature.”

In 2019 the San Antonio Botanical Garden transitioned from being an arm of the city of San Antonio into a public-private partnership; it is now a nonprofit, while the city owns its land and buildings.

“The striking, internationally renowned Lucile Halsell Conservatory is a 90,000 square foot complex featuring five futuristic glass structures housing tropical palms, rainforest ferns, desert cacti, and rare orchids, which surround an inner courtyard, orangerie, and pond. Discover plants from the tropical rainforest and its canopy to the deserts of Mexico and South Africa, as well as tropical palms and ancient ferns.

Both timeless and specific, natural and man-made, the Lucile Halsell Conservatory changed San Antonio’s skyline in 1988. Designed by Emilio Ambasz, the iconic Lucile Halsell Conservatory has welcomed millions of guests looking to explore unique plants and ecosystems from around the world. Capturing the 1985 Progressive Architecture Award, the 1988 National Glass Association Award for Excellence in Commercial Design, and the 1990 First Place Quaternario Award, the Lucile Halsell Conservatory complex’s Palm and Cycad Pavilion soars 65’ high at its tallest point and cradles the Fern Grotto 23’ below the earth’s surface.” ~ About Lucile Halsell Conservatory

You can explore all the Lucile Halsell Conservatory’s amazing spaces featuring exotic plants from around the world: the Exhibit Room, Robert and Helen Kleberg Desert Pavilion, Gretchen Northrup Tropical Conservatory, Palm and Cycad Pavilion, and the Fern Grotto.

Centrally located in the heart of San Antonio, the urban oasis has been nationally recognized for its commitment to environmental stewardship and exhibitions that bring people and the natural world together. A top San Antonio attraction, the Garden serves as a museum of plants, a tranquil escape, a living classroom, a research and conservation facility, and entertainment venue where art, architecture, music, and theater experiences come to life for 368,000 annual visitors, including 60,000 children.

Additional recognitions include: 2019 Professional Honor Award by the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); Best Place to Enjoy the Outdoors and Best Calendar for When You Want to Get Outdoors by San Antonio Magazine; Best Wedding Venue by San Antonio Current; Named Favorite Nature Center by Kids Out and About; 2019 Event Production of the Year Award; and the 2018 San Antonio Botanical Gardens – Lucile Halsell Botanical Conservatory – 25 Year Award by the San Antonio Chapter of the AIA.

Visit the new Emilio Ambasz Virtual Museum website to see the Lucile Halsell Conservatory and learn all about his wide body of work. The owner of more than 220 industrial and mechanical patents, the architect and inventor shares his many years of experience in architecture, urban design, industrial and graphic design, and more.


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