Flying Whales (2023)

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Client: SEML Route des Lasers
Architect: GAMMA
Location: Laruscade, France

Date: 2023-11-01 00:00:00 +0000 UTC
Tags: Steel, Space frame, Digital Design, Parametric Design, Geometry

Flying Whales

Format Engineers have collaborated with Paris based Engineers Terrell Group on behalf of their client SCI Océan et Maîtrise d’ouvrage délégué : SEML Route des Lasers to carry out the structural engineering for a 260m long by 70m high airship enclosure structure in Laruscade, France. Architects GAMMA (Goudchaux Architecte & Associés – Mamou-Mani Architecte) are responsible for the vision of the hanger building plus the surrounding masterplan of workshops, offices and storage facilities.

The huge scale structure is a very light and efficient three-dimensional space frame, shaped using a suite of form finding and structural optimisation techniques to achieve the most efficient response to the applied loads, thus keeping volume of structural materials and embodied energy to an absolute minimum. A fuller description of the computational methods used in the structural optimisation and analysis can be found here. At every stage of the design we tracked the quanity of CO2 in the frame as way of steering design decisions towards a lower emdodied energy structure.

Format Engineers were responsible for the design of the FAH building at the competition stage, as well as subsequent designs at the ESQ, APS and APD stages. Construction is scheduled to start in 2025.

Image credits: Images 1,2,3 - Format Engineers, Images 4,5,6 - GAMMA