Biodome, Budapest (HUN)

Architects: Mérték Architectural Studio

Principal: Budapest Zoo

Contractor: Moratus Kft.

MEVA systems: Mammut 350 wall formwork, Circo circular column formwork, MEP shoring tower system

Engineering and support: MEVA Zsalurendszerek Zrt., Budapest, Hungary



Large construction site in the heart of Budapest

MEVA fulfils stringent requirements with flexible formwork solutions

The Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden is one of the Hungary’s most popular cultural attractions. It has been regularly expanded and modernised over the course of its 150-year history. During another extension to the park, the so-called biodome is coming into being – a type of closed dome inside which a complete ecosystem is to be simulated. At its highest point the 17,000 m² building reaches a height of 36 m and will house elephants and chimpanzees, for example, as well as sea cows and even sharks in an aquarium.

As this description shows, there is a lot of work to be done here. In order to form the kidney-shaped building, Moratus Kft., the construction company responsible, decided to use formwork systems from MEVA.

Good advice is half the battle
One of the most important resources during such an extensive project is good advice. The MEVA engineers thus supported Moratus Kft. with professional guidance during deployment of the various formwork systems as well as with well-calculated cycle sequences. “The support provided by MEVA was really excellent,” says Zoltán Hideg, and his boss Sándor Bánkuti adds: “We were able to rely on the technical advice and the detailed formwork plans provided by MEVA during every phase of the project and achieved very good results.”

Kidney-shaped building layout
High walls ranging from 4.25 m to 10 m were formed using height-extended panels belonging to the Mammut 350 wall formwork system. “The high fresh-concrete pressure load of 100 kN/m² makes high rates of placing and large cycles possible,” explains Kálmán Oberrecht, who supervised the construction project for MEVA. Due to the kidney-shaped geometry, there were only a few walls with right-angled corners. It was possible to set up the different angles flexibly using hinged corners. Moreover, as these consisted of only small angles, it was rarely necessary to work with timber fillers. Where they were required, it was possible to secure them with Uni-assembly locks. Once the required length has been set, the Uni-assembly locks provide a non-positive connection with only a few blow with a hammer.

Circular columns up to 10 m
Circular columns produce an ambience in the new biodome that is as open as possible. A total of 42 columns were formed using MEVA’s Circo circular column formwork. This system is an all-steel design made up of two half-shells whose interiors are coated with clear lacquer. To achieve a highquality concrete finish, the formwork joints are automatically centred during assembly to ensure that no steps occur at the panel joints. In addition, the Circo circular column formwork can be height-extended several times without loss of stability. In this way, it was possible to flexibly form the columns with heights varying from 3-10 m during construction of the biodome.

Flexible support
With storey heights of about 4.5 m, it was still possible to support the building’s slab formwork with standard props. However, overhanging slabs required additional support. Thus, for heights up to 9.5 m modular shoring towers from MEVA were used. The MEP with diagonal cross-braces was flexibly adapted to suit the required surface. Prop spacings from 90 cm to 300 cm are possible, making the planning and implementation significantly easier. If the MEP shoring tower system is held at the top, as was the case at this construction site, the horizontal force is already absorbed at the top, meaning that the shoring tower can be loaded with up to 40 kN per leg.

The first phases of the zoo’s new building should already be finished in 2019. When the construction work is complete, the biodome will tower over all other attractions at the zoo. The large construction project is already an eye-catcher and draws quite a few admiring glances in anticipation of the new attraction.

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