Jewel of Glass and Steel

The Balat Greenhouse

The Balat Greenhouse is located in the Cronquist garden. It is one of the oldest greenhouses in the country, built out of glass and steel. It was designed in 1854 by Alphonse Balat, the court architect of King Leopold II. Initially, it stood in the Leopold Park in Brussels and housed giant water lilies. Then it moved first to the Botanique garden, and then finally to Meise. 

Alphonse Balat wasn't just any architect. He was the teacher of Victor Horta, the famous architect of the Art-Nouveau style. Balat also designed the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken; in fact the Balat Greenhouse served as his practice exercise for those later greenhouses. You can recognise the Balat Greenhouse in the logo of the Botanic Garden.