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Timber Domes Brindisi


With a span of 143 m, both two coal storage domes for Enel in Brindisi, Italy are Europe’s largest timber structures. In total 3,096m3 Glulam was used, as well as 44,000m2 of CLT. Compared with steel and aluminium the geodesic domes made of timber prove to be the most efficient: they combine a minimal use of material with maximum speed in construction. The latter was mainly powered by the innovative connector. This connector, which is developed by Adviesbureau Lüning, enables the construction of the two domes without the need for scaffolding. Glulam beams could be installed directly from the crane. This means a great saving on both construction time and costs. Extensive failure tests on the connectors were carried out at the University of Trento, Italy. 

Enel’s Federico II (Brindisi South) coal fired plant has been extensively retrofitted. To reduce coal dust and to control fire hazard, a completely covered coal storage is provided. A particularly innovative feature is the use of geodesic storage domes, constructed of timber. The two geodesic domes are realized in laminated timber. Each dome has a diameter of about 143 m and a height of about 49 m, providing a storage capacity of 210 000 m3 of coal, equivalent to about 180 000 tons. In terms of diameter, these domes are the largest of their type in Europe. The geodesic configuration and choice of materials, mostly laminated timber, have been guided by considerations of lightness, stiffness and strength, but above all because timber needs less maintenance and because it provides greater resistance to fire at relatively low cost. In addition, they combine minimum use of materials with maximum speed of construction.

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