UNSW Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences operates a large glasshouse located on the roof level of the Samuels building. The UNSW Glasshouse is used for both teaching and research, not only by members of our School but also by researchers from other schools and faculties. It often provides ground for new methods, materials and ideas as they progress from the laboratory to the real world.

The UNSW Glasshouse is divided into four chambers, including a quarantine chamber suitable for research on invasive and genetically modified organisms. Each chamber can be set to different environmental conditions via automated cooling, heating and shade controls. While temperature, humidity, sunlight and soil moisture are logged for each chamber. The management system also controls the automated watering system. All these features can now be accessed remotely.

The eastern end of the Glasshouse is accessed via the goods lift from the loading dock area and opens into a preparation space. The western end of the glasshouse has a mixed-use laboratory with two Climatron growth cabinets. There are three more, much larger growth cabinets adjacent to the loading dock on the lower ground floor. We have equipment on-site to prepare soil mixes of specific physical and fertility properties and have a suite of ancillary materials and equipment or compliment plant-based research.

If you’re interested in conducting research in the Glasshouse, please contact the Glasshouse manager and consider the following points:

  • Duration of experiment
  • Size of pots and anticipated size of plants
  • Number of pots and bench space required
  • Soil type and fertility
  • Watering frequency
  • Desired sunlight exposure
  • Desired temperature range

History

The Glasshouse was built with the Samuels building in 1991, before which the School of Botany operated a glasshouse complex in the Michael Birt Gardens in front of the original Bioscience Building. The Lowy Cancer Research building stands in this location now, after it was built in 2009. In 2018, after nearly 30 years of operation, many of the original Glasshouse systems needed repairs and a scoping process was initiated to evaluate potential refurbishments and upgrades.

With the scoping works complete, construction began in 2019 and included redesigning and replacing the entire 400m2 glass roof. Several systems were refurbished, such as the evaporative cooling system and the ventilation systems. At the same time, other components were replaced, such as the new heating units in each chamber and a Building Management System that controls and monitors all aspects of glasshouse operation.

Our People

Director: Prof Angela Moles
Room 401E, Level 4, Biological Sciences North (Building D26)

Manager: Dr Len Martin
Workstation 4.64, Office 401 Level 4, Biological Sciences North (Building D26)