With more than 15 species of butterflies, the award-winning Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden is the first of its kind in Turkey. The striking insect conservatory, housed within a butterfly-shaped building, is one of the longest butterfly flying fields in Europe, allowing visitors a glimpse of these colourful creatures in their own natural habitat.
Exotic vegetation and tropical temperatures provide a lush home to more than 5,000 butterflies. Wandering about the conservatory, which includes extensive climate-control to allow tropical species to thrive, is a riot of colour where visitors can closely witness butterflies and moths flitting among a collection of 20,000 plants from more than 100 different species.
A showroom and small cinema provide an educational journey, with exhibitions offering insight into the lifecycle of butterflies and insects. The conservatory is part of a larger park and leisure complex in Turkey’s historical city of Konya, featuring open play spaces and decorative pools, café and retail space as well as sporting facilities, including an artificial sledge track, and an amphitheatre.
Arup was appointed by Butterfly House Consultancy, an expert in the field of entomology, to provide a sustainable design focused on creating a habitat for tropical butterflies. Arup provided multidisciplinary engineering design services including facade consultancy and technical architectural design services.
2,100m2 indoor Butterfly Garden
800m2multipurpose hall, offices and retail units
Once this was a neglected area, but thanks to this project it has become the most attractive place in the City of Konya. ” Uğur İbrahim Altay Mayor of Selçuklu Municipality, Konya, Turkey
Award-winning butterfly-inspired structure
With a footprint of approximately 3,500 m2, the structural design of Konya’s Tropical Butterfly Garden clearly echoes the silhouette of a butterfly. Designed for the Konya Selçuklu Municipality, the butterfly-shaped complex features three main buildings – the large indoor Butterfly Garden, an Insect Museum alongside a mix-use building housing a café and retail space, a multipurpose hall and offices.
A double-curved lattice steel shell supported by reinforced concrete shear walls at ground level constitute the main structure - key for areas registering seismic activity. This design enabled the use of relatively slender tubular sections, while simultaneously ensuring the structure’s high resistance to out-of-plane buckling.
This structurally challenging and architecturally stunning project was awarded ‘Best Architectural Design’ in the Public Building category of the Sign of the City Awards competition.
Tropical environment allows rare butterflies to thrive
The Butterfly Garden is an efficient and cost-saving green building. This is no mean feat considering that the entire complex is designed to re-create tropical weather conditions. Many of the butterflies in the Konya conservatory require tropical climate conditions to thrive – very different from the local climate in Konya which complicates creating the right conditions with its dry summers, cold winters and low humidity.
Arup’s technical team worked to create an artificial microclimate within the Butterfly Garden, adjusting air temperatures to about 26 °C (with two degrees variation) and a humidity of about 85 % (within a 5 % variability range).
Evaporative cooling proved to be the most efficient way to create such tropical conditions. Arup’s challenge was to adjust the garden’s large glass cover with its footprint of 2,100 m2 to these conditions to provide the optimal environment for the butterflies. Shading elements in the form of butterfly wings were designed to reduce solar loads during summer. Additionally, a system supplying warm air to the inner side of the glass façade was developed to prevent condensation during cold winter periods.
‘Best Architectural Design’ by Sign of the City Awards