Danish designers N55 and Anne Romme collaborated to create SPACEPLATES - a modular greenhouse in Bristol that mimics the geometry of sea urchins. The greenhouse is the second prototype of a new building system designed to provide affordable housing for people in a range of income brackets. The project's "pure plate" technology combines the building's structural system and cladding in one svelte design. Located on a small piece of land between parking lots, the prefabricated structure allows horticulture students at the South Bristol Skills Academy to learn about growing a variety of foods regardless of the external climate.
Building on a concept first introduced by the late Danish engineer Ture Wester, the designers have created a minimalist modular system that is lightweight and self-supporting, expansive, and yet completely rigid. The cladding and structure are one in the same, which completely reduces the amount of materials required, and although the design and production require digital technology, the actual construction of this futuristic curved building can be completed using nothing more than a few hand tools.
The pure plate structure is made from 4mm laser cut aluminum panels bent at the edges and bolted together. Like the sea urchin’s shell, it is thin but very strong. The Bristol greenhouse isn’t insulated, but Romme and N55 are working on a new prototype that will be so that their SPACEPLATE concept will be applicable for housing as well. And by the end of summer this year, another SPACESPLATE greenhouse will be built at Prags Have, Copenhagen – with each new model improving upon the design of its predecessor.