Designed by Heatherwick Studio, this new kinetic glasshouse features 10 structural “sepals” 15 m long that open and close on the Woolbeding Gardens (West Sussex, England). Bellapart participated in the geometric, structural and automation design and engineering from early stages and did its detailing, fabrication and site assembly. In its closed position, the glasshouse is a 14.5m high building with a 15m diameter base and a maximum diameter of 19m at the base of its ‘kinetic’ roof, at 2.8m from the ground level. Its ten-sided façade is fully cladded with Double Glazed Units and anodised aluminium profiles. To allow its movement, the glasshouse relies on ten hydraulic cylinders. When closed, a pneumatic powered mechanism bonds the sepals together. At the same time, the pneumatic system inflates a gasket system to achieve a weathertight building envelope. The structure is made of tapered welded reconstituted profiles of mild steel that meet in sharp angles and complex nodes. This nature of the structure in a fatigue-loaded building, required a cutting-edge structural engineering analysis (including the different positions of the structure during service as well as installation), a strict geometric and welding control during fabrication and finally a careful and skilled installation.
About the speaker:
Carles-Hug Bitlloch Martínez is the Structural Engineering Director at Bellapart. He has worked in several cutting-edge projects such as the Skylight of the Hotel Ritz (Madrid) or the Flagship Store on 54 Av. Montaigne (Paris), as well as the Woolbeding Glasshouse (England). Working in Bellapart since 2018, he studied Architecture and Structural Engineering at UPC (Barcelona) and has previous experience in structural engineering in Spain and Switzerland.