Milton Hershey began his venture into the wonderful world of chocolate in 1903 when he built the world’s largest chocolate factory. To keep his business profitable and innovative, Hershey needed to employ a great number of workers. To draw employees to his company, he envisioned a comfortable and convenient neighborhood that would provide the Hershey factory workers with a community near the company grounds. In 1905, this came to be Hershey, PA. The town quickly expanded to include tourist attractions such as an amusement park, founded in 1907, a ballroom, and many other amenities for the numerous visitors that frequented Hershey, PA each year. Amongst these attractions is the Hershey Gardens, which opened in 1937 and currently consists of nearly 23 acres of botanical parks and grounds.
In its earlier days, the Hershey Gardens featured glass conservatories that housed and displayed plants during the winter months. As a nod to the original Hershey Gardens’ conservatories, a new building opened in July 2016 in the Gardens. This new structure, the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory, was designed by LSC Design and now shows ever-changing exhibits of various plant species through all seasons of the year. It also features a butterfly atrium with hundreds of rare and tropical breeds, an Education & Horticultural wing, as well as a breathtaking overlook of the city of Hershey.
As plans for the new conservatory were constructed, there was never a question of what material would be used for the roofing. Authenticity of the project was king and in replicating the original conservatories that were built on the Hershey Garden grounds in the early 20th century, metal roofing was the clear and appropriate choice.
In addition to the historical significance, metal roof paneling allowed for the LSC Design’s desired bell shape to be formed. The 90-degree angle at which the hip is curved was made possible by Drexel Metals’ 24-gauge Galvalume 1 ½-inch architectural standing seam metal roofing panels that were finished in the Hemlock Green color of Valspar’s Fluropon coating.
Fluropon is a 70% PVDF coating that provides the Hershey Conservatory roof with steadfast protection against harmful UV rays, chalking and fading. The coating’s flexibility and formability made it a perfect match for the desired bell-shaped roof on this project. In addition to the shield against weathering, Fluropon’s brilliant color consistency will keep the entrance’s beauty vibrant for years to come.
The symmetry of the newly built conservatory showcases a clean and balanced look. The minimalism of a neutral toned brick exterior with an earthy-green metal roof accented with white framing allows focus to stay on the exotic contents held within the conservatory, while also giving great attention to the stunning entrance of the building. With the marriage of Valspar’s protective coating and the flexibility of the metal roof paneling, The Hershey Conservatory achieved the perfect balance between aesthetics and durability.
Project: Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory; Hershey, PA
Coatings provider: The Valspar Corporation; Minneapolis, MN
Metal panel manufacturer: Drexel Metals; Levittown, PA
Metal panel fabricator: Houck’s Services; Harrisburg, PA
Architect: LSC Design; York, PA
Photo credit: Drexel Metals