Doué-la-Fontaine Biopark & Sainte-Croix Animal Park: sustainable enclosure solutions with steel sheet piles

In France at the Doué-la-Fontaine Biopark near the Loire Valley and the Sainte-Croix Animal Park in the Lorraine region, steel sheet piles were chosen to create original spaces for some of the exhibits. At the Doué-la-Fontaine Biopark, 250 tonnes of GU 8S profiles form an elliptical enclosure. They were installed with a staggered combination technique: alternating long sheet piles interspaced with shorter sheet piles. At the Sainte-Croix Animal Park, 310 tonnes of PU 22-1.0 sheet piles were used.

Detailed information

Steel sheet piling makes an important contribution to the circular economy. Steel sheet piles are reusable and 100% recyclable. They are also quick to install, requiring little space or equipment. As such, the construction phase also contributes to achieving a lower environmental impact. Thanks to their flexibility, sheet piles can be ideally adapted to all kinds of geometries. The appearance of untreated sheet piles also allows them to be integrated into landscape design - like that of animal parks.

Steel sheet piles were chosen to create original spaces for some of the animals at the Doué-la-Fontaine Biopark and the Sainte-Croix Animal Park in France.

Doué-la-Fontaine Biopark: steel sheet piling solutions for unique enclosures and the amphitheatre

In Anjou, near Saumur, more than 1300 animals live in an exceptional natural setting at the Doué-la-Fontaine Biopark, which is dedicated to the protection of endangered species.

Designed by François Gay, the Biopark's director, the ‘EURASIA – The ghosts of the Himalayas’ project gave rise in 2017 to a unique landscape formed by hexagons carved out of the rock, offering climbing opportunities for the park’s mountain species.

Work to install the various steel sheet pile structures began in September 2016 and was carried out by the Verchéenne company based near the site. The project's original concept required many hours of study of the methodology. For the 80-by-64-metre elliptical amphitheatre, a curved modular guide was specially designed and constructed, enabling the sheet piling to be installed with a staggered combination technique: alternating long sheet piles interspaced with shorter sheet piles. The GU 8S profiles in S 355 GP grade, in lengths ranging from 6 to 12 metres, were installed by vibratory hammering.

In total, 250 tonnes of sheet piles were used to create these new areas, including the amphitheatre, the panther enclosure, and the panda enclosure. The steel guide was recycled and integrated into the final design over one quarter of the perimeter to serve as a gabionade along the walkways leading to the gates of this magnificent arena.

Sainte-Croix Animal Park: an extension with the sustainable EcoSheetPileTM

Located in Lorraine, the Sainte-Croix Animal Park welcomes more than 350 000 visitors per year. Over the past 40 years, Sainte-Croix has become a benchmark in France and Europe for the presentation of European fauna and endangered species from around the world. More than 1500 animals from 100 species live in semi-liberty in a 120-hectare green setting.

As part of the park's extension, a new area known as ‘New World’ was constructed using steel sheet piles bearing the EcoSheetPileTM label. This new area is home to North American species and 28 residential lodges covering an area of 8 hectares, as well as a new enclosure for bears, coyotes, and American bison.

The ‘New World’ area is part of a sustainable tourism approach, both in terms of its design and its future operation. In particular, the site's electricity network is 100% eco-responsible and 100% renewable. Solar panels on the roofs of the lodges provide hot water for the accommodations. This approach is fully in line with the Zero Waste policy that Sainte-Croix has been pursuing since 2016: sorting waste, educating the public to get everyone actively involved as citizens, and working towards obtaining the European Ecolabel. The use of sheet piles made from 100% recycled steel supports this eco-responsible vision.

310 tonnes of PU 22-1.0 sheet piles in S 355 GP grade and lengths of 6.3 to 12 metres were installed by vibratory hammering using an ABI SM 12/16 B and an MRZV 30VV vibrator.

Durmeyer was responsible for the pile-driving work, which lasted seven weeks. The new site opened its doors in 2019.

Project information

  • Doué-en-Anjou & Rhodes
  • France
  • 2017 & 2019
  • Contractors:
    Verchéenne (Doué-la-Fontaine Biopark)
    Durmeyer (Sainte-Croix Animal Park)
  • Text:
    ArcelorMittal Sheet Piling
  • Images:
    ©Biopark - Kryalid Films