Climate dome at the Beauval Zoo: the CSTB, involved in the design phase

Image © Boitte Architecture and ZooParc de Beauval

At the beginning of 2020, the Beauval Zoo inaugurated its new climate zone with an exceptional tropical environment. Commissioned by CMF, the company that designed the glass dome of unprecedented proportions (13,855 sq. meters), the CSTB provided a digital modeling procedure and solution to conduct a study of the temperature and airflow behavior of the tropical greenhouse.

The dome features a panoramic restaurant and an outsize tropical greenhouse in order to recreate extremely realistic environments designed to ensure the wellbeing of the animals housed in this space.

CMF's unique design for the dome's glass structure holistically manages the indoor climate so as to combine the comfort of the living beings (the animals, visitors and tropical plants) with energy savings.

Before beginning construction of the future bioclimatic dome in late 2017, CMF, a company that specializes in building greenhouses, asked the CSTB to validate the assumptions for its design of the indoor climate of this half-sphere with a diameter of more than 100 meters.

The expertise of the CSTB's engineers, combined with several digital modeling tools, specifically the finished volume calculation tool OpenFOAM and the airflow simulation software MATHIS, developed by the CSTB, helped refine the estimation of the dome's energy consumption.

The modeling helped the company gain more insight into the physical mechanisms involved, in order to manage the key parameters of the proposed solution:

  1. The heat losses of the greenhouse during the heating period. The analysis thus made it possible to validate the power of the production unit, so as to cover the greenhouse's heating requirements.
  2. The temperatures reached inside of the greenhouse in summertime. The analysis showed that ambient conditions compatible with the planned use of the dome can be maintained through the combination of the natural ventilation system and the distribution of the glazing panels with different energy factors depending on where they are located on the dome. This ensures the wellbeing of the animals and plants housed in this space, as well as the comfort of the dome's visitors.

“This kind of project is truly exceptional, both in terms of its size and the way the space is used. Our ability to take into account the full complexity of the phenomena in a coherent digital model of the indoor ambient conditions (the interaction of the wind with the structure, the airflow characteristics of the openings, the radiative properties of the glazing, the evapotranspiration of the plant-covered surfaces, the evaporation of the pools and streams, etc.), provided precise quantitative data and reinforced CMF's expertise for the final selection of technical solutions.”

François Demouge, Research Engineer, the CSTB

The digital modeling performed by the CSTB thus confirmed the specific results projected for this project.

digital modeling performed by the CSTB thus confirmed the specific results projected for the Beauval Zoo

This approach also served to confirm for the architect and the client the technical choices made to maintain an environment adapted to the wellbeing of the animals housed in the dome and the people visiting it.

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