Monsanto Center

Research Facility of the Missouri Botanical Garden

monsanto center

The Monsanto Center, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s research center, opened in 1998 and houses the Garden’s Science and Conservation Division, one of the world’s most active and important scientific research operations. The center also houses a portion of the Garden’s herbarium of over 6 million plant specimens and its highly valued research library. In addition to a staff of more than 150 research scientists, associates and graduate students, hundreds of American and foreign scientists conduct short and long-term botanical research projects here each year.

A model of “green architecture,” the building brings together environmentally-friendly technology and design, from the siting of the structure and the materials used in construction, to the carpeting, paint, and even the furniture. Recycled and recyclable materials are found throughout. An environmentally-sensitive, energy efficient system maintains precise temperature and humidity control for the collections. The structure is also designed to be “earthquake proof,” with 41 base isolators placed beneath the building and mounted on footings that reach to bedrock.

The $19 million, 78,000 square foot modular facility is located a block and a half west of the 79-acre Garden, in a commercial-industrial district within the area known as the Southwest Garden neighborhood. This four-story, brick and glass building has been designed to complement the personality and character of the neighborhood, as well as provide a positive and stabilizing influence.

Between 1972, when the John S. Lehmann Building, the previous research headquarters, was opened and the mid 1990s, the number of botanists, research assistants, illustrators, database specialists, library staff and support personnel had quadrupled. At the same time, expeditions by Missouri Botanical Garden botanists and collaborators on nearly every continent were adding more than 120,000 new plant specimens to the herbarium each year, far exceeding the capacity of the Lehmann Building. The Lehmann Building continues to house portions of the herbarium, support staff and library archives. The solution to the space needs for both staff and collections was the design and construction of the Monsanto Center. Because of its modular design, the Monsanto Center can continue to be expanded into the indefinite future to meet the expanding and changing needs of the Garden’s research program.

In February 2010, the Monsanto Center officially earned silver certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system. At that time, less than 500 buildings had received any type of LEED EB: O+M certification. The Monsanto Center was the first LEED EB: O+M building in Missouri.