SPACEPLATES Greenhouse Bristol

With N55

N55 and Anne Romme in collaboration with Anne Bagger
Greenhouse, 72 m2
Bristol, UK

The SPACEPLATES Greenhouse Bristol is the first permanent building to be completed with the SPACEPLATES BUILDING SYSTEM. It is situated at South Bristol Skills Academy, City of Bristol College, Bristol, UK.

Wedged in on a small piece of land between large parking lots, the SPACEPLATES Greenhouse Bristol functions as a classroom and growing space for the horticulture students and their teachers at the South Bristol Skills Academy. The greenhouse enables them to study and grow plants all year round, and will be used for seeding and growing plants for the outdoor gardens adjacent to the site.

Unlike Bucky Fuller’s well-known and well-tested domes where the number of different parts are kept at a minimum, the SPACEPLATES BUILDING SYSTEM takes advantage of contemporary technology to mimic more complex naturally occurring geometries. Because of an organic growth principle, they often contain a gradient, and thus many geometrically similar but differently sized parts.

This version of the SPACEPLATES Greenhouse is based on the sea urchin geometry, where hexagons are arranged on a geodesic grid on a sphere. Five spheres intersect each other and form a sequence of spaces.

Reinforced concrete foundation
228 aluminum plates, 4 mm thick
174 acrylic plates
Approximately 429 m EPDM rubber profile
Approximately 7400 nuts and bolts
Approximately 400 m sealant


Idea and design: Ion Sørvin, N55 and Anne Romme
Engineer: Anne Bagger M.Sc. Ph.D., Daniel Sang-Hoon Lee, M.Eng, Ph.D
Architecture consultant: Erling Sørvin
Fabrication: Danlaser A/S
Local contractor: Kore Construction Ltd
Project consultancy: Ginkgo Projects
Construction team, Bristol: Till Wolfer, Nico Jungel, Sacsha Pölling
Construction team, Copenhagen: Lene Slot, Nicolai Fontain, Jakob Coln, Katrine Romme, Anders Davidsen

Photo credits: © Jamie Woodley Photography / Ginkgo Projects 2012