Advanced modelling identifies ideal shape for a resilient structure

Having built an initial prototype, it was clear advanced research was needed to identify the ideal shape for a practical and resilient structure. Our Advanced Technology and Research Centre developed 2D and then 3D digital models to explore interactions between the structure and varying wind loads. The models were particularly complex due to the flexible and dynamic nature of the air dome.

The results of this research were then used to build a successful second prototype. Having solved the design issues for a small-scale model, the research team moved to practicalities like scaling up the design to full size, how to build the structure and which materials would be best. The team designed a variety of shapes to meet a range of different needs. They prepared manuals for construction and how to use of the dome once it was in situ.

Principles of sustainability apply to the materials, construction and operation of the dome

The end result is a lightweight construction with structural features which are equivalent to a more traditional building with a high mass. It can be installed within a couple of weeks and, as required, can be taken down and moved elsewhere. The ingenious chimney effect between the two skins provides a natural cooling system allowing the dome to consume about one-third of the energy of other tents, while creating a pleasant micro-climate.

The Freedom Museum chose the Shaded Dome™ to create an eye-catching landmark. It offers a free span of 60 metres accommodating the reception area, cinema, café, exhibition rooms and shop. This large span and controlled indoor climate are ideal for museum exhibits requiring stable temperature and humidity. The museum building runs without natural gas, using heat pumps and generating its own energy from solar panels on the outer skin. The Shaded Dome™ for the museum was developed and supplied by Shaded Dome Technologies, founded by ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects, Royal HaskoningDHV and Poly-Ned.

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Project Facts

  • Client
    The Freedom Museum
  • Location
    Groesbeek, the Netherlands
  • Scope
    Desire to create a moveable structure based on the principle of an air dome, covering the new home of the Freedom Museum.
  • Solution
    The Shaded Dome, an eye-catching landmark with a free span of 60 metres.

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