Taiyuan Domes, Botanical Garden
We are excited to be working with DMAA to deliver a series of impressive timber structures at the new Taiyuan Botanical Garden.
Three timber gridshell dome structures form the centerpiece of this garden, with each of the three domes creating different climates and environments. Two of the three domes accommodate the pavilions for tropical and desert plants, while the third dome is designed to house an aquatic environment sitting directly on a lake.
All three domes have a unique topology, opening towards the south for maximum solar gain during summer and winter. The geometric generation of these domes presented a particular challenge, as they are not spheres, and initially each of the Glulam elements would have been doubly curved to create the geometry.
We worked closely with DMAA to develop a structurally optimised geometry, looking at all of the constraints, including daylighting, structural performance, shipping, and fabrication and pre-assembly.
All three domes have been parametrically generated and analyzed in Grasshopper and Karamba, allowing for iterative form finding and structural optimisation.
The largest dome has a clear span of over 300ft, making this one of the largest timber gridshells worldwide.
Structural analysis of the three domes is highly complex, due to the sensitivity an orthogonal grid has towards snap-through buckling. We carried out full-scale load testing on many of the structural connections in the gridshell to determine accurate stiffness and strength parameters for our nonlinear buckling analysis.
Custom scripts have been developed to send the freeform geometry from Rhino directly to BTL files for CNC processing.