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General Information

Beginning of works: 1997
Completion: 17 March 2001
Status: in use

Project Type

Structure: Truss-supported membrane structure
Function / usage: Green house
Architectural style: Blobitecture


Location: , , , ,
Next to: Education Resource Centre (2005)
Coordinates: 50° 21' 42.65" N    4° 44' 38.37" W
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Technical Information


diameter 38 - 124 m
height max. 50 m
covered area 23 000 m²
span max. 124 m


truss steel
membrane ETFE foil


15 May 2000

"Soft" opening to a limited area while construction is on-going.

14 March 2001

Complete opening.


The domes represent a modern structure developed from regular geometries. The form is based on spheres constructed with a grid based on the subdivided pentagons of a regular dodecahedron, a solid with twelve faces. The resulting pattern of hexagons and pentagons is reminiscent of the skeleton of certain zooplankton called radiolaria and was thought to provide an appropriate link to the natural world. A single - layer grid would carry external loads with large bending moments in the members. To make it more structurally efficient, and to enable prefabrication of the components, a second grid layer to the space frame was added to form a 'hex - tri - hex' grid. This was constructed with members and nodes developed from the Mero system with cup nodes for the outer layer and spherical nodes for the inner. The ends of the members are fi nished square to the axis while the nodes are machined and drilled to the correct angles.

Source: Liddell, Ian and McCormick, Fergus (2012) Special steel structures in Steel Designers' Manual: The Steel Construction Institute, Seventh Edition (eds B. Davison and G. W. Owens), Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK

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