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General information

  • Location address
    Lushun port of Dalian
  • Location country
  • Year of construction
  • Name of the client/building owner
    Dalian YiHai Travel Corporation
  • Function of building
  • Degree of enclosure
    Fully enclosed structure
  • Number of layers
  • Type of application of the membrane
  • Primary function of the tensile structure
    • Space defining elements


The Dalian seals show hall is located near to the estuary of the Dragon River in Lushun port of Dalian, China. You could enjoy the beautiful view of the river and the ocean at the same time. The client engaged us to make the design being a new landmark, being a good building to let the spectators feel comfortable to enjoy the show. In addition the structure must be finished in the spring of 2009, which means we have to finish all the buildings in short time.

So we put forward the following three points to be achieved. The 1st point is the magnificent sight; the 2nd is to have the good architectural functioning for a seals show, such as good internal environment, pure natural sun light and energy saving. The last point is to try to finish the roof in a very short timeframe. All this is a challenge to the design team; fortunately we proposed a wonderful membrane structure. After more than 10 conceptual design adjustments, the client’s architect approved the concept.

The building is the 1st specialized space for a sea dog’s show in Dalian. The roof system is a hybrid structure consisting of long span truss beams, suspension cables, edge cables and membrane. The grandstands are reinforced concrete frames. They have a total area of 3000m² and can hold 1000 spectators.

The roof system is a complicated space system which consists of a 76m span main truss, 10 secondary truss beams and 2 arched trusses at the entries. The cover materials are PVC-polyester membrane and glazing. Most of the steel structure components are placed on the top of the concrete columns except the two arched truss es, which are positioned on the ground. The total steel structure has a width of 70m, a span of 76m, and the height is 25.8m.

The membrane is tensioned between adjacent secondary truss beams; creating anti-clastic curved surfaces. A water-proof membrane will cover the connection area. A PVDF coated fabric type 3 FR 1000 made by Mehler in Germany is used.

We use the Chinese program 3D3S to do the form-finding, nonlinear analysis, Chinese standard of steel & membrane structure checking and patterning. The form-finding is done with a nonlinear finite element method. After the form-finding, the membranes are initial equilibrium and minimal surfaces. We put the entire structure together to perform the non-linear analysis. The beam elements, the cable elements and the membrane surface elements are in one computer model, so it is easier to get a more accurate analysis report.

The load cases:
1. Pre-stress (PL): 2.0 x 2.0kN/m for membrane; 20kN & 40kN for edge cables;
2. Dead load (DL):0.1 kN/m2;
3. Snow Load (SL): 0.4 kN/m2;
4. Wind Load (WL): 0.65 kN/m2;
5. Seismic Load: Chinese Standard, the first vibration mode is 0.24433s;
6. Temperature Load: ±30ºC.

The whole design including the preliminary design, analysis and making the shop drawings took us about two months. Now, the steel structure is installed on site. Parts of the membranes are being mounted.

Description of the environmental conditions

Material of the cover

  • Cable-net/Fabric/Hybrid/Foil
  • Type (code)
  • Material Fabric/Foil
    PVDF Mehler Valmex FR1000 (Type III)

Main dimensions and form

  • Covered surface (m2)
  • Form single element

Duration of use

  • Temporary or permanent structure
  • Convertible or mobile