Harderwijk Dolfinarium Entrance
Year of construction
Name of the client/building owner
Grévin & Cie, Paris, France
Function of building
Entertainment & recreation
Degree of enclosure
Temperate - cold winters and mild summers
Primary function of the tensile structure
- Rain protection
A combination of tensioned membranes and a laminated wood structure
Buitink Technology recently finished the membrane- and wood structure, which together form the entrance of the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk (the Netherlands).
Buitink Technology engineered, produced and installed the entrance canopies as well as the masts with printed flags as decoration. The architect specifically chose this combination of wood and membranes to create the desired atmosphere.
It was a challenge to design all the details of the wood structure to be able to take the large forces resulting from the membranes. For this project several specific details were developed.
The layout of the bearing structure corresponds to a spine. In the centre there is a tower, carrying the logo of the Dolfinarium. At both sides a wooden laminated Larch (spine) beam is placed. It is carried by portal frames formed by laminated Larch columns and purlins. In between the portal frames purlins are cantilevering from the spine-beam.
The architect had designed a rather flat membrane. To prevent large deformations and ponding of the fabric the pretension is high. The tension forces from the fabric, combined with the relatively large eccentricity, caused by the height and the curvature of the wooden beams, created large permanent bending moments and forces in the wood. This required special detailing of the wood connections.
Special attention is paid to the rain flow over the fabric. Because the structure is an entrance covering, it is not desirable that the water drains all along the boundary of the fabric. At the other hand the architect did not want to see any water drainage system. A compromise was found by adding rims on the fabric and guiding the water by means of thin chains to the ground. In the pavement drainage systems are provided.
Description of the environmental conditions
Material of the cover
Main dimensions and form
Covered surface (m2)
Duration of use
Temporary or permanent structure