The Orchid Educational Pavilion is located in the Ethnobotanical Gardens in Oaxaca, Mexico within the walls of the Church and former Monastery Santo Domingo de Guzman (1572-1666). It sits within one of the most biologically diverse ecologies in the world and as part of an ensemble of cultural experiences. Mexican Artists Francisco Toledo and Luis Zárate and the Anthropologist and Biologist, Alejandro de Avila began creating the cultural ensemble that would become the Botanical Gardens of Santo Domingo in the summer of 1994. They hoped to crown their achievement with a pavilion for growing diverse species, conducting experiments, and teaching the community. The Orchid Educational Pavilion is intended to support the conditions for growing diverse species through sustainable systems (zero energy) while being a minimally invasive building. It is designed as an interactive tool to educate future generations in the vastness of the biodiversity of the region and inspire broader implantation of sustainable architecture. The small amount of energy it needs for its passive cooling and irrigation systems is provided by remote solar panels and a geothermal system. At the same time, modular units allow the structure to be extended, dismantled, or moved entirely if necessary.
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