Eckersley O'Callaghan / Foster + Partners
This is the largest structure in the world to use glass as the primary bracing system. The 17m high and 30m diameter dome is constructed from 114 conically shaped, tempered, and insulated glass panels, 10 steel mullions and 11 concentric steel structural transforms around its perimeter. The simplicity of the very slender steel frame belies its engineering complexity. A solar control coating was used alongside a graded frit on the surface of the glass to minimise solar gain inside the dome. Internal fins are provided to control acoustics and additional insulation to meet environmental standards.
Every aspect of the design was considered and meticulously detailed. At each stage, the engineers have worked closely to push the boundaries; from the technique used to bend the glass to the bespoke scripting written to analyse the structure. From the outset, the engineers considered the method and sequence of on-site assembly and in parallel identified the connection detailing and prefabrication for construction of this unique structure.