Wellesley Celebrates Global Flora’s Milestone with “Topping Out” Ceremony

September 7, 2018

This summer on Science Hill, construction crews were hard at work on the Global Flora greenhouse project. On September 5, the project reached a significant milestone: Wellesley senior leadership, faculty, students, staff, and members of the Turner Construction Co. met under the newly formed frame for the building’s “topping out” ceremony to commemorate the progress of the building.

According to a Slate article, the tradition of the “topping out” ceremony is “a celebration of a so-far safe construction site, an expression of hope for the secure completion of the structure, and a kind of secular blessing for the building and its future inhabitants.”

In the fall of 2017, the Global Flora project won a prestigious LafargeHolcim design award in the most significant global competition for sustainable design. Among other innovations, Global Flora will feature a series of indoor landscapes arranged in wet and dry biomes designed to replicate the physical conditions—soil components, temperature, light, and humidity—that sustain vegetation in its natural habitat. The building expands on the rich history of botanical education and research at Wellesley College that dates to the 1920s.

A construction team lifts the final beam into place at the Global Flora greenhouse on Science Hill.

A work crew hoisted and attached the final structural beam into place on Wellesley’s Global Flora greenhouse project on Science Hill. With its foundation and steel structure now in place, Global Flora is expected to be completed by next summer.

Wellesley community members and the construction team looks on as the beam is lifted into place.

Workers from Turner Construction Co. and members of Wellesley’s senior leadership team, including President Paula A. Johnson, looked on as the beam was lifted.

Students and the construction team sign the beam.

Standing in what will be its courtyard, about 20 individuals connected to the Global Flora project signed the beam before it reached its final destination.

President Johnson signs the beam.

President Johnson also signed her name.

The beam with signatures in black permanent marker.

The names of those involved with the project will remain, etched in ink and at the highest point of the structure, as future generations of students continue to explore botanical education and research at Wellesley.