The new Expo Cultural Park Greenhouse Garden forms an essential part of the urban masterplan development in Shanghai. It combines old with new when an existing steel structure is incorporated into the design of the three new greenhouses. They are housed in separate pavilions and connected by a central walkway from the entrance building. The shape of the pavilions evolves organically from the existing steel structure.
The layout of the steel beams in the roofs of the greenhouses are defined by circular openings, organised by a circle packing algorithm in order to maximize transparency. The roof acts as a stiff horizontal slab where it is either coupled with a system of suspended tension elements or hung from the existing steel industrial hall. The inner courtyards provide the main horizontal stiffness, together with the Vierendeel structure of the vertical outer facade.
The façade of the three greenhouses is composed of straight and curved single-layer laminated glass panels with constant radii based on an 80 cm grid following the perimeter of the global shape. For the curves, only five different radii were used to optimise fabrication, with the façade column dimensions optimised according to the internal forces of the structure. Each glass panel is pre-assembled with continuous aluminium profiles structurally glued on the backside of the glass along two vertical sides. The entrance building has a conventional façade with double-glazing units while respecting the similarity of aspects with the three greenhouses.
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