Witness the world’s largest single-domed greenhouse at Venice Architecture Biennale 2021

France-based practice, Coldefy, in partnership with a not-for-profit organisation, Zuecca Projects, will showcase ‘Tropicalia- Architecture, Materials, Innovative Systems’ at the collateral event of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

Curated by Alessandro Possati, director of Zuecca Projects, and Thomas Coldefy, principal of Coldefy, the exhibition showcases the architectural and engineering specifications of Tropicalia greenhouse, and its unique sustainable air treatment engineering. Scheduled to be open in 2024, the biggest greenhouse in the world will be constructed on the Côte d’Opale, France offering insight into tropical fauna and flora, understanding its fragile ecosystem.

Octav Tirziu | Tropicalia greenhouse
Octav Tirziu | Tropicalia Greenhouse internal View 

“The exhibition Tropicalia, situated in the phantasmatic city grid of Venice, questions the impact of man-made structures in our daily lives and opens a broader discussion on the impact and experience of the question: Where does architecture stand today?” said Thomas Coldefy, principal of Coldefy.

Designed as a 35 metres tall single-dome structure and occupying an area of 20,000 square metres, the greenhouse will be heated to 26 degree ventilated temperature. Once inside, the visitor will be plunged into a tropical atmosphere, featuring curated forests with birds, butterflies, fishes, reptiles, to simulate the unique eco-system.

“Tropicalia is a place of discovery, wonder and awareness, an invitation to dream, travel and learn. It will be hosting rich and diverse flora and fauna: exotic flowers, butterflies, hummingbirds, Amazonian fish, turtles, caimans, water gardens, waterfalls and ponds,” explains the studio.

Coldefy | Aeria View
Coldefy | Lower Level Plan
Coldefy | Section
Coldefy | Concept Diagram
Coldefy | Dome Details

Equally impressive is Tropicalia’s exterior architecture, where the building is partially embedded in the ground and seems to rise like a slight hill. The height of the dome is carefully calibrated to ensure complete growth of greenhouse trees as well as suspension bridges that create a labyrinth of paths through the greenhouse. The exterior bubble is made up of pressurised EFTE air cushions, held in place by aluminium frame. The greenhouse dome achieves self-sufficiency in energy consumption through its Terraotherm innovation. The heat produced by the greenhouse is recycled and stocked, and is exported back via a heat network into the building and surrounding business.

The exhibit showcases architecture models, drawings, sketches, videos and diverse presentation materials. It seeks to answer this year’s Biennale question, “How will we live together?” The presentation will be hosted at Squero Castello (Salizada Streta 368, Castello 30122, Venice), from 22 May to 21 November, 2021 (pre-opening 20 and 21 May).



The exhibition is curated by Alessandro Possati, director of Zuecca Projects, and Arch. Thomas Coldefy, principal of Coldefy. It will be hosted at Squero Castello (Salizada Streta 368, Castello 30122, Venice), from May 22nd to November 21st 2021 (pre-opening May 20th and 21st).

Illustrated by architectural model, drawings, sketches, videos and diverse working and presentation materials, the exhibition transmits an environmental and educational message: it shows how science can answer the question “How will we live together?”, the title of Biennale Architettura 2021 curated by Hashim Sarkis.



Coldefy develops projects at the national and international levels and covers the fields of education, culture, leisure, housing, offices, retails, urbanism. Its offices are in Lille, Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thomas Coldefy leads the company with Isabel Van Haute, Architect DESL who also joined the company in 2006.  The firm is characterized by its dynamism and creativity, animated by an international perspective that drives them to participate regularly in professional events around the world, as well as in large international competitions. Coldefy distinguishes itself with an open and innovative spirit. Coldefy’s project method aims to focus intensely on the site, an urban culture concerned with the appropriate density and diversity, as well as a conceptualization process where the various project factors are continually brought together and overlapped. 

Included among the current projects are: the National Pulse Memorial & Museum in Orlando, Florida; the  Bao'an Cultural and Art Centerin Shenzhen, Tropicalia, the largest greenhouse in the world, in North of France; the Institute of Sustainable Transport and the Institute of International Management on the Campus of the University of Valenciennes, C40-Reinventing Cities - MKNOa sustainable district in Greater Paris, the China Foundation, a student residence on the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. 



Zuecca Projects is a non-profit Cultural Organization involved in the conception, creation and development of interdisciplinary projects in the realms of contemporary art, architecture and film. Founded in 2011 in Venice, Zuecca Projects has been promoting a long list of international projects interlacing different art forms – visual art, architecture, dance, cinema, drama – firmly linked to the most advanced and innovative contemporary contexts. Projects organized by Zuecca Projects involved international artists and architects such as Ali Kazma and Giuseppe Stampone (2011), Rirkrit Tiravanija (2012), Pierre Huyghe (2012), Ai Weiwei (2013), Eisenman Architects (2014), John Giorno (2015), Slater B. Bradley (2016), JOEP VAN LIESHOUT (2016), Marina Abramo.