Six ATExs for the new Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle satellite

Satellite 3 is named "La Galerie Parisienne” (The Paris gallery), and is quite different from the all-curved architectural silhouettes of terminal 2 to which it is connected by an automatic metro.  There is no formal heroism here.  Like the ubiquitous glass features in the parallelepiped shaped building, the spatial organization in three parallel bands connected to each other through walkways resembles a stack of successive planes, with each layer affirming its own functional and construction logic.  The main building at the core is composed of a central unit (the main entrance door to the satellite with its transfer desks, information desks and shopping mall) extending into the North and South wings which are dedicated to the boarding lounges on two levels.  At the East of the main building, eight pre-jetways coated with polycarbonate accommodate the multiple access means to medium and very large carriers for international flights exclusively.  Finally at the west, facing terminal 2 from which they can be clearly seen, arrivals jetways are organized in complex distribution patterns due to the separation into Schengen medium carrier and international large carrier passenger flows.

Light, time and space

Everywhere, special attention is paid to the treatment of light and visual relations with the outside so that passengers suffering the worst of their jetlag and taken out of their normal surroundings, can reach their destination or their connection flight and immediately feel comfortable in time and in space.  Beginning with the use of point-fixed Structural Glazing (attached glazing) covering the approximately 8 800 m² façade of the wings of the main building.  Thierry Meunier, façades design manager for Aéroports de Paris, explains that a system of stiffeners composed of elliptical members connected to each other by bolting cast parts forming shoring to provide cross bracing for the 10-meter high double glazing was designed.  "The glazing was placed on the ends of the spheroid graphite cast iron bracing members and was then clamped by oven-baked aluminum alloy clamping shoes."

"Glass panes are assembled on the secondary framework as an articulation, continues Jean-Louis Galéa, responsible for Technical Experimental Assessments at CSTB.  Behavior tests have shown that the principles of articulation and innovative design of metallic stiffeners suspended from the main structure of the satellite, make it easy to accommodate glass deformations, confirming both the flexibility and strength of the works".  The spatial result is satisfactory.  Departure lounges are peaceful and bright, offering views over Roissy Plain, and the shuffling of aircraft preparing for docking.

At the other end, the sunshades designed to provide protection along the West façade of arrival jetways during summer afternoons, is no exception to the systematic use of glass.  The 4 300 curved strips made in China are made of triple-laminated glazing, with the external component being corrugated 6 mm glass producing texture effects.  Paris airport architects designed these sun shades supported on cast aluminum arms to allow a difference in the inclination latitude between two adjacent strips of 1°.  The result is an immense wave of curved glass reflecting the properties of flutex over the 750 meters covered by the system, appearing and disappearing under the changing light of the Paris region.

A "case study building"

"The Aéroports de Paris satellite 3 is a genuine case study building", says Jean-Louis Galéa who has studied the few non-traditional techniques for which an ATEx has been issued.  There are many widely varying solutions for closing off or covering the 225 000 m² floor area, depending on the orientation of the sun, programmed contents, construction constraints and the target environments.  Hybrid facades called "Skywalls" made of double glazing with offset edges, comprise a frame composed of cross pieces and uprights supported by the three fasteners onto the primary structure.  The top fastener resists wind and weight, the intermediate fastener being made up of a dual-hinged button, and the bottom fastener allowing differential movements. "The project is quite exceptional in terms of its scale and the number of contractors involved, emphasizes Thierry Meunier.  The company constructed glass roofs with a very low slope, so as to bring light to the heart of Air France lounges.  The Eiffel company satisfied other constraints through the use of Structural Sealant Glazing including several variants and two ATExs:  the set of frames has been offset to outside the building so as to offer a smooth façade, for example inside the automatic metro station and in the transfer lounge."

But the satellite 3 building only represents one step in the planned construction of the airport.  Aéroports de Paris teams are already working on satellite 4, a priori designed according to the same model.  Admittedly, not quite...

Airports and sustainable development

During a conference in October 2007, Aéroports de Paris architects Pierre-Michel Delpeuch, François Tamisier and Dominique Chavanne summarized how the HQE approach is integrated into airport projects.

Pierre-Michel Delpeuch believes that airports are tending to become more and more impersonal, while at the same time they are becoming much larger and more complex due to the increase in the number of passengers, the development of shopping areas, multimode platforms and safety requirements.  Despite increasingly strict constraints, there is no doubt that the Aéroports de Paris Chief Architect holds the keystone to the quality and diversity of the group’s projects in specifying that space management remains at the heart of design work.  As he puts it "Travel is a singular moment.  The passenger expects to be surprised.  And the space inside the airport must be a showcase for know-how and cultural identity."

Towards NF certification - HQE approach®

"The new Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport project matches the silhouette and general concepts used for the recent satellite 3, and offers an opportunity to explore new horizons, says François Tamisier.  Satellite 4 is far from being an exact copy of its predecessor, and in some respects it is an authentic pilot operation in itself.  Its formal and organizational relation with satellite 3 (The Paris Gallery) makes it easier to concentrate on the development of new light environments and to contribute to creating a reference system designed for the NF HQE® approach certification project for airports, in the framework of cooperation with CertiVéA, CSTB professionals and works certification subsidiary.

"From the beginning, we asked for the assistance of a design and engineering office to technically qualify the different targets of the HQE approach, says François Tamisier, design manager.  The main objective was 50 % energy savings in comparison with existing buildings on the Paris-Charles de Gaulle site.  In particular, this requires a study on light and air treatment.  Thus, all passenger living and transit areas are lit directly.  Air conditioning is designed to consume a maximum of 41 Watt/m² for installed heating power, and 33 Watt/m² for installed cooling power.  And we have integrated a double water network system, capable of retrieving rain water runoff from the roofs before reinjecting it into the building after treatment."

In phase with targets for control over the impact on the outside environment and the creation of comfortable spaces for low predicted construction costs, the architecture still manages to include all the elements of surprise so dear to Pierre-Michel Delpeuch.  The colored filters on the East façade, the transfer area glazing façade illustrating the beauty of Paris, the combination of fluorescent tubes and natural lighting in departure lounges, are already creating unique locations forming part of a voyage, as early as the conceptual design phase.

Technical datasheet

• Owner:  Aéroports de Paris

• Architects (Aéroports de Paris):  Pierre-Michel Delpeuch, Jean-Michel Fourcade, Christine Frémont, Gilles Goix, Louis Fachin

• Works supervision (Aéroports de Paris):  Philippe Pecquet, Pierre Aurières

• Façade design manager (Aéroports de Paris):  Thierry Meunier

• Design and engineering office:  INA (Aéroports de Paris), OTH, SETEC, GEMO-ODM (control and coordination)

• Inspection office:  VERITAS


• Net Floor Area: 225 000 m²

• Dimensions:  750 m long, 80 m wide (overall) and 21 m high composite concrete (basement and sub-basement) and steel construction

• Delivery:  June 2007