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Project Status
Project Value 
Service Provided
Completed 2019
Pasadena, U.S.A
£ Undisclosed 
Environmental and thermal comfort evaluation 



With the need to be easily constructed and moved, the Apollo Tent Arena provided a challenging space to provide a comfortable internal environment as it travelled around the west coat stage of California. Housing around 2000 spectators, a displacement ventilation strategy was evaluated to meet the comfort criteria during the show.



A unique venue is used to provide a stage for a interactive show about sceience and space. The stadium can accomidate approximetly 2000 people at maxinum capcity in the main auditorium space, the space has a main stage along with a 360 degree screen at high level. The arena is split into two areas, the adutiorium and the pre-event space. Both areas are under a large tensioned canvas roof with entrances  along either side. The pre-event area has a large viewing area with ETFE windows along the rear.


The auditorium is constructed from cross laminated timber to aid the quick construction when on site. The entire areana is designed to be mobile as the show travels around the west coast of America. 

CAD visualisation of the geometry for the CFD model


The mechanical ventilation system designed for the Apollo arena has to handle a hot and humid environment with the show travelling around the west coast of America to areas such as Pasadena

The system uses displacement ventilation method to provide a comfortable environment to the occupants. Through supplying air at low level, and extracting air at high level, air is drawn upwards as the air increases in temperature and is pulled by the extract.


A key elements of the design for the system was to first establish which areas required cooling and to what level do these areas require cooling too. A focus was on the seating arranging at the base to ensure that the spectators of the event would notice a marked difference from external to internal environments.  

Diagram showing the intent of the ventilation system creating a stack effect


During the project, there were several design ideas that were discussed in order to cater to the many different factors that could influence the ventialtion system from the system performance, client elements such as stle and use as well as the ease of construction. 

At n early stage, an design limitation was highlight through the use of the CFD model. The model of the system design limitation in the form of the airflow from the ducted supply air at low level. The cooler air  at lower levels provided reduced temperatures at the lower teirs of steating hwoever, the system did not have this effect at higher levels of the seating platforms. 

From the CFD analysis the design progressed to using underseat curtains to allow two plenums to be created each with a supply griilles to bettwer distribute the air. 


The mechanical ventilation system designed for the Apollo arena has to handle a hot and humid environment with the show travelling around the west coast of America to areas such as Pasadena

The outside ambient temperatures can have major impact to the internal environment especially when the construction of the arena is a ten-like fabric which allows for a lot of heat transfer between. A variety of models were simulations with different temperatures for outside ambient as well as changes in the relative humidity (RH) of the conditioned air entering the space. Through modelling multiple scenarios a better understanding on the effects that the external environment may have on the internal space through providing a better or worse climate for spectators. 

Relative humidity sample plane through the Apollo tent arena CFD model



Predicted Mean Vote Comparison between outdoor ambient temperatures
Percentage Dissatisfied Comparison between outdoor ambient temperatures


People persevere comfort at many different points with variables of humidity, air temperature and radiant temperature being key drivers of their opinion.


Through using the CFD model and tools created by K8T based on human comfort research, the comfort crtiera can be better understood with easy to read metrics. 

With the Apollo Theatre ventilation system, due to the nature of the space, tempatures and humidity within the main theatre space was essiential to the success along with controlling the amount of carbon dioxide in the air from poeple breathing.


Through the process of evlaution and optimisation of the system, a successful resolution to the ventiatlion system was acheived.  

CFD model to evaluate the human comfort within the space

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