The butterfly house in Sharjah has a envelope with traditional designs of Islamic ornamentation.

3,375

steel sections  

4,060

petals made from aluminium composite panels  

325sqm

3D-curved peripheral aluminium composite panels  

260m

3D-curved circular hollow sections

butterfly house

In Sharjah, the capital of the emirate of the same name, it is not only the traditional buildings that provide examples of Islamic art and culture. As part of the Khalid Lagoon Island Development, a new artistic and constructional interpretation of the traditional designs of Islamic ornamentation was built on Noor Island. In this architectural gem, two intertwining, curving surfaces, covered in golden flowers, surround a glazed butterfly house and a café. In accordance with the design concepts of the 3deluxe design and architectural practice from Wiesbaden, this structure creates a unique atmosphere of light and shade in the building’s interior.

The roof of steel and aluminium composite panels appears light and delicate. The curving free-form surface of the roof structure is bordered by 3D-curved circular hollow sections that are supported at nine points only and achieve a clear span of more than 20m over the entrance zone. Between these peripheral members, a triangular lattice of welded steel sections allows plenty of daylight to reach the interior. A golden flower made from an aluminium composite panel decorates every node. This principle is reversed at the edge, where isolated petals are punched out of solid surfaces.

  • Backed up by many years of experience in 3D design, seele was able to reproduce the artistic ideas of the architects exactly in a real structure, and was involved throughout, from development to design to erection on site. A wind tunnel simulation determined the loads for the structural system. Owing to the complex geometry of the roof structure, every triangle in the lattice is unique. That would have been the case for the 4,060 petals as well had seele not devised a system that enabled this huge number to be reduced to 50 different types.

    Reference overview and Header image: © Torsten Seidel Photography

  • The building envelope of the butterfly house in Sharjah consists of two intertwining, curving surfaces.
  • The curving free-form surface is a composite of steel and aluminium.
  • In this construction a triangular lattice of welded steel sections allow plenty of daylight, a golden flower is decorating each node.
  • The roof structure of the butterfly house has a very complex geometry.
  • The butterfly house was built on Noor Island, a part of the Sharjah city.
  • The metal enclosure of the butterfly house in Sharjah expresses the diversity in creative and aesthetic terms.
The building envelope of the butterfly house in Sharjah consists of two intertwining, curving surfaces.
© Torsten Seidel
The curving free-form surface is a composite of steel and aluminium.
© Torsten Seidel
In this construction a triangular lattice of welded steel sections allow plenty of daylight, a golden flower is decorating each node.
© Torsten Seidel
The roof structure of the butterfly house has a very complex geometry.
© Torsten Seidel
The butterfly house was built on Noor Island, a part of the Sharjah city.
© Torsten Seidel
The metal enclosure of the butterfly house in Sharjah expresses the diversity in creative and aesthetic terms.
© Neil Lopez

Butterfly House wins “World Architecture Award” in metal

The Butterfly House project, designed by the architects from 3deluxe, has won the “16 WAN Award” in metal. Impressed by the complexity of this design, the jury commented on the project as follows: “For a metal award, it’s very clever. When you get down to the interlocking of the fixings and filigree of these pieces, it’s amazing. A delicate, sweeping form echoes the characteristics of the inhabitants of this pavilion. The quality of the overall shape carries through to the detailing and finish of its elements, making this a worthy winner.”

The metal enclosure expresses the diversity of the material and its usage in structural, creative and aesthetic terms. Its supporting structure is remarkably delicate, with the 200mm structural members supported at just nine points.

Credits

Client Sharjah Investment & Development Authority / Shurooq
Architect 3deluxe
Date of completion 2015
Scope of seele supply
  • Structural calculations, wind tunnel simulation, 3D design, fabrication drawings
  • Development, design and erection of steel envelope
Awards
  • World Architecture Award 2016 in metal