Missouri Botanical Garden Monsanto Center
St. Louis, Missouri
The Monsanto Center houses a world-class herbarium collection (containing 5 million plant specimens), library, offices, and laboratories. Christner took the lead on the multi-disciplinary design team in developing sustainable design criteria for the site development and landscaping, building envelope, operational systems, building materials, and interior finishes. Completed in 1998, the Monsanto Center predates the sustainable criteria established by the U.S. Green Building Council and serves as a seminal example of environmentally responsive design.
Given the dual needs for research and preservation of the collections, Christner designed the building in two distinct vertical zones, with separate thermal and environmental controls. Research and office areas are on the south. Large windows admit light that is then reflected off the angled ceiling to reduce electric light use. The collections area (heavily insulated and without windows) is on the north. Rigorous environmental demands require storage at 62 to 65 degrees and relative humidity at 45 percent. Vestibules buffer heat and moisture migration from adjoining office space.