The Bijie Dome

Bijie is a city located 150 miles NW of Guiyang in the Guizhou Province of south central China. The area has a sub tropical climate with frequent year round rain and is famous for its production of Azaleas. It is a popular destination for visitors who are attracted by the beauty of the flaming red landscape or by the many birds who inhabit the area.

There was a need for an exhibition hall to display the many varieties of Azaleas, 23 in all, during the March and April blooming season. It was decided that a circular building with a timber domed roof would be best suited and an inquiry was made across the Pacific to Western Wood Structures. The question asked was – can WWS design, manufacture, fabricate, and ship the dome components within 9 weeks following receipt of a contract? The answer, of course, was yes.

After a price was agreed upon and a contract signed, WWS was obligated to meet a condensed shipping deadline of 9 weeks – not an easy task for such a complex and highly fabricated structure. But thanks to accurate preliminary design work and cooperative vendors WWS managed to beat the promised schedule by one week.

The materials were shipped in two stages: dome components were shipped first followed by the materials for the entrance canopies. This allowed the General Contractor to begin work on the dome installation early.

Seventeen containers were used to export the Glulam, 2x T & G decking, plywood, steel assemblies, and fastening hardware. WWS utilized nine [9] Portland area manufacturers and vendors to complete the order.

WWS provided the General Contractor with a set of erection drawings and sent a jobsite consultant for one month to assist with installation. After arriving on site and sorting through containers of materials, and tracking down adequate tools, the dome was erected in just 6 weeks.


The 6-Sector VARAX style dome spans ~ 174’, has a rise of about 33’, and bears on 18 concrete supports. Entrance to the interior of the exhibit hall is gained through any one of six entrances that rise 28’ above the ground.


Not only can Western Wood Structures claim responsibility for the design and supply of the longest clear-span timber bridge in China, but we can now claim the design and supply of the only timber dome built in China to date.