Designs have been unveiled for the largest single-dome greenhouse on the planet, set to spring up in France’s Pas-de-Calais.
Tropicalia will span a colossal 215,000 sq ft and is designed by French architecture practice Coldefy & Associates. It will feature a double-insulated, transparent shell-like roof on an unprecedented scale.
The structure is conceived as a ‘bubble of harmony’, says the practice. A one-kilometre-long pathway will run through Tropicalia, connecting a variety of tropical landscapes filled with flora and fauna, as well as a thundering 82-ft waterfall and an Olympic-size swimming pool stocked with Amazonian fish.
While Tropicalia will leave a big physical mark on the Rang-du-Fliers landscape, its ecological impact is much smaller. Says the architects: ‘The project is [an] autonomous energy producer by the use of a double dome creating a air chamber heated by a greenhouse effect.’
ETFE plastic and steel will be used to construct the greenhouse and it will bed down in the earth to make the most of natural insulation. Excess heat created by the complex will also be recycled for use in outlying buildings.
Tropicalia is expected to cost around $62 million and is a collaboration with energy company Dalkia. Don’t hop the channel just yet though – the project isn’t set to break ground until 2019, and will welcome its first guests in 2021.