French firm Coldefy & Associates has unveiled its design for "the world’s largest tropical greenhouse under a single dome".
The $62m "Tropicalia" biome, a tourism scheme financed by private investors, will be situated in Rang-du-Filiers, 4km south of the tourist resort of La Touquet on the Pas-de-Calais, and will cover an area of 2ha.
Inside, the architect is planning a tropical forest complete with "dozens of species of animals, trees and flowers", turtle beach, a pool for Amazonian fish and a one-kilometre-long walking trail.
According to Coldefy, the project will be insulated by double-glazing – there will be two ETFE foil layers to store heat from the sun. The aim is to maintain a steady temperature of 26°C.
It will also make use of earth insulation, by being partially buried in its landscape.
An afternoon in Amazonia
The energy component of the design was carried out by Dalkia, the industrial energy subsidiary of EDF. Denis Bobillier, the technical director of major projects at Dalkia, commented: "Our main objective for the Tropicalia project is to optimise the energy efficiency of the dome while minimising the impact on the external environment.
"We have therefore designed a double-dome producing its own energy, able to maintain the tropical atmosphere regardless of the outdoor climate because one of the main stakes for the performance of the greenhouse is its heating system."
As well as the recreation of a rain forest, the dome will contain laboratories and a range of hospitality offerings. Work is due to begin construction in the first quarter of next year and to complete in 2021. The business case for the project is based on its attracting about 500,000 visitors a year.
Coldefy was founded by Thomas Coldefy and Isabel Van Haute, and is based in Lille, in northeastern France. Its work is mainly divided between France, China and Hong Kong. The firm was chosen for the Tropicalia project on 22 March.
Top image: The "Bubble of Harmony". All pictures courtesy of Coldefy & Associates