"The new tropical conservatory at the Botanical Gardens in Aarhus is like a drop of dew in its green surroundings. Sustainable design, new materials and advanced computer technology went into the creation of the hothouse's organic form.
The project includes a comprehensive restoration of the old hothouse in the Botanic Garden in Aarhus originally designed by C.F. Møller.
In the restoration the palm house will become a new botanical knowledge centre, at the same time as the complex is extended with a new, 18 metres high tropical hothouse, in which the public can go exploring among the tree-tops.
The design of the new hothouse is based on energy-conserving design solutions and on knowledge of materials, indoor climate and technology.
Using advanced calculations, the architects and engineers have optimised their way to the building's structure, ensuring that its form and energy consumption interact in the best possible manner and make optimal use of sunlight. The domed shape and the building's orientation in relation to the points of the compass have been chosen because this precise format gives the smallest surface area coupled with the largest volume, as well as the best possible sunlight incidence in winter, and the least possible in summer.
The transparent dome is clad with ETFE foil cushions with an interior pneumatic shading system. The support structure consists of 10 steel arches, which fan out around a longitudinal and a transverse axis, creating a net of rectangles of varying sizes. On the south-facing side, the cushions used were made with three layers, two of which were printed. Through changes in pressure, the relative positions of these printed foils can be adjusted. This can reduce or increase, as desired, the translucence of the cushions, changing the light and heat input of the building."