Light-weight steel solutions for the gym at University Marne-la-Vallée with ACB® beams

Due to the weak ground of the construction site, the project of this gymnasium required a light structural solution. The load-bearing structure consists of hot rolled steel sections and composite flooring system, the long spans of the sports halls are guaranteed by castellated ACB® beams – all supplied by ArcelorMittal.

Detailed information

The Project

The gym was planned in course of a development programme launched by the Université de Marne-la-Vallée. The chosen site is located at the intersection of two roads, "La Terre" road running east-west leading to a fortified farm, the Haute Maison, and the Rue Galilée, running north-south. 

The construction project respects the client's wish to retain a significant presence of greenery by reserving the unbuilt part of the area for a planted garden.

In response to these requirements and taking into account the large building volumes in the area, the architect suggested a uniform and partly transparent facade to enclose the entire new building.

Access to the gymnasium from the car parks is gained via a pedestrian bridge, a prolongation of the La Terre road. There is a large height difference of approximately three metres between the western access (the footbridge side) and the rue Galilée on the east of the site.

A full-length passageway forms the southern facade of the building. With its very high ceiling, this passageway is punctuated by white tubular steel poles that accentuate the curved shape of the facade. The entrance hall and some spaces for offices are located in this area. On the lower level, a wide and well illuminated circulation area links the halls and separates the building from the facilities area that looks out on the southern facade. The facilities areas include in particular changing rooms and showers, store rooms, offices etc.

The total area of the building is 1,996 m², consisting mainly of two large halls: the 840 m2 sports hall and the 450 m² gymnasium. The ballroom, with125 m², is located in the centre, above the ground floor.

The Structural Solution: Light Weight & Long Spans

The load-bearing structure consists of white painted steel profiles, both tubular profiles and rolled I sections with a solid web or large circular openings.

Round columns with a diameter of 139.7 mm are spaced 2.50 m apart along the southern facade. The secondary framework of the envelope bears the load between these columns. The structural interval of the halls is 5 m (east/west).

Cambered ACB® castellated beams with circular openings by ArcelorMittal cover a span of 24.50 m, at a structural height of 730 mm. These primary beams are very light as they weigh less than 100 kg/ml and were delivered to the site as a single element already cambered according to the 3% slopes of the roof.

ACB® beams, of 6 m length and spaced every 2.50 m, support the trapezoidal steel sheets by Arval by ArcelorMittal, which form the inner skin of the roof. The whole structure is braced by diagonals at intervals in each direction.

Light enters the halls through a series of glass panels in the upper part of the northeastern facade and can spread through the large openings of the ACB® beams. Some round doors and windows are provided in the lower part. The inner walls are finished with horizontal, black and white painted strips of wood. The outer envelope is clad with vertical wood laths of natural colour.

The flooring on each storey is implemented with Arval's Cofraplus composite flooring system, a combination of cast concrete on a steel profile.

This gymnasium was completed in a very short time, thanks to the dry fabrication and assembly processes that steel permits. In addition, its lightweight structure was a supplementary asset on a site with a low load-bearing capacity.

Project Information

  • Champs-sur-Marne
  • France
  • Architect:
    Jean-Paul Bonnemaison
  • April 2008
  • Client:
    Université de Marne-la-Vallée, UMLV
  • Engineering Firm:
    BET PROJEX Coordination, BA
  • Contractor:
    Gagne (metal framework), Franki (special foundations), Boyer; Lagrange; Cruard and CBC
  • Photographer:
    ©Jerome Fleurier