Orangeries were basically large ornate conservatories for tender plant varieties. Orange trees were the main intended plant for propagation; this is where the name Orangeries and orangery originated. Soon after the use for Orange and lime trees the varieties of plants, shrubs and exotic plants that were housed became very extensive. Mainly by the wealthy who could afford to travel and bring back samples of these plants and be able to pay for the upkeep of these delicate plants in the cold winters of England and northern Europe. This soon created a situation where Orangeries became symbols of status among the wealthy.
Earliest Known Orangeries
We have found that as early as 1545 an orangery was built in Paduva Italy. These first Orangeries were not as well thought out or as ornate as our modern versions, most had no heating and in the very cold nights had to have open fires made up to keep them warm.
The building of Orangeries became fashionable after the end of the eighty years war in 1648, the countries that started this trend were France Germany and the Netherlands, these were the countries that sore merchants start importing large numbers of orange trees, banana plants and pomegranates to cultivate for their beauty and scent
The need to build these Orangeries came from two areas the need to house such delicate plants, also the image status from the wealthy, both however were constricted in there choice of materials available for the task, if they were south facing then they were constructed with brick or stone bases, brick or stone pillars with a corbelled gutter arrangement and mainly had large tall windows to benefit from the warm sunlight in the afternoons, if north facing then very heavy on the solid walls and much smaller windows to be able to keep the rooms warm. Insulation at these times was one of the biggest concerns for the building of these Orangeries, straw became the main material used, also many had wooden shutters fitted to keep in the warmth.
The first examples were basic and built using the garden wall as the main wall of the new Orangery, but as Orangeries became more and more popular they started to become more and more influenced by Garden Designers and Architects, this led to the connection between the house and Architectural Orangery Design. This became further influenced by the increased demand for beautiful exotic plants in the garden, which could be grown and looked after in the Orangeries. This created the increased demand in Garden design for the wealthy to have there own exotic private gardens, further fuelling the status of the Orangery becoming even more the symbol of the elite. This intern created the need for Orangeries to be constructed using even better techniques such as under floor heating and the ability to have opening widows in the roofs for ventilation. Creating microclimates for the propagation of more and more exotic plants for the private gardens that were becoming creations of beauty all around Europe.
Modern Bespoke Designs
With the development of modern materials in the insulation and glazing industries it is now possible to construct Orangeries with the beauty of ornate Garden Designs and Architural influences more in keeping with modern design and todays use requirements. Orangeries are now constructed for more and more people who wish for something more than an extension or a Conservatory and want all year round additional space to there homes which adds one of the most luxurious and beautiful rooms that are possible to be build today.