Artist's Experimental Greenhouse Uses Sugar for Glass Panes (Video)

Video screen capture. William Lamson/video by Kate Barker-Froyland via Vimeo

From geodesic domes to affordable underground installations, greenhouses come in many forms and functions. American artist William Lamson goes down an interesting and decidedly sweet detour with his experimental solarium, lined with panes made out of caramelized sugar.

Situated on top of a hill in Storm King Art Center in upstate New York, Lamson's multi-coloured solarium tests the boundaries of materials. Lamson transforms sugar into a rigid substrate by heating it to high temperatures. You can see the process in this video by Kate Barker-Froyland:

William Lamson - Solarium from Storm King Art Center on Vimeo.

This Is Colossal quotes Lamson as saying:

Like a mountain chapel or Thoreau’s one-room cabin, Solarium references a tradition of isolated outposts designed for reflection. Each of the 162 panels is made of sugar cooked to different temperatures and then sealed between two panes of window glass. The space functions as both an experimental greenhouse, growing three species of miniature citrus trees, and a meditative environment. In warm months, a 5x8 ft panel on each side of the house opens up to allow viewers to enter and exit the house from all directions. In addition to creating a pavilion-like environment, this design references the architecture of a plant leaf, where the stomata opens and closes to help regulate the plants' temperature.

One of Lamson's previous works utilizes unprotected sugar on windows, which eventually washes away with time. Thanks to being sealed in between glass panes, this unexpected use of sugar lasts a bit longer, and allows for interesting patterns to remain visible. More over at Storm King Art Center, and check out more images over at William Lamson's site.