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Steel frame to replace collapsed Paris terminal

AIRPORT OPERATORS in Paris have ordered a steel structure to replace the radical concrete shell terminal 2E at Charles de Gaulle airport, which partially collapsed in May 2003 killing four people.

NCE understands that consultants SETEC and RFR are working on a steel ribbed structure to replace the entire existing building. The sections that did not collapse will be demolished.

A section of the terminal, close to large openings for walkways, failed on 23 May 2003.

It comprised a 300mm thick insitu cast exposed concrete shell, stiffened by external curved steel trusses. These supported an external glazing system.

The building featured closely spaced openings for skylights, and six walkways.

This structure rested on longitudinal beams supported by concrete piers, which will be retained to support the structure.

Operator Aéroports de Paris had said the replacement structure would be the same as the original. But it will now be rebuilt in steel, with external glazing and internal exposed timber cladding. Curved steel rib elements will mirror the tubular shape of the original.

It is thought that steel was chosen for its speed of erection, and also because repairing and strengthening the sections of original terminal building that are still standing would have been too complex and time consuming.

The official report into the collapse had also raised questions about the design of the concrete shell (NCE 1 March).

It said that composite steel/ concrete wall sections had failed after steel struts linking the external steel tension members to the concrete shell punched right through the concrete. This was triggered by cracking caused by differential thermal movement between the external trusses and the concrete shell.

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