Lab City in Paris has opened its doors at the start of the academic year of 2017-2018. The building houses a research institute for the faculty of engineering of CentraleSupélec. Specialty of this building is the transparent roof structure that was designed especially for this project.
The building, designed by OMA, is intended to function as a city, with lecture rooms and laboratories placed in seperate blocks within a large open grid of boulevards and small courts. The concept of the building as city is strengthened by the thin transparent roof, through which the sky can be seen from these open areas. The roof consists of a double-layered ETFE cushion filled with air. The roof structure was designed by Level Acoustics & Vibration together with Bollinger+Grohmann and OMA on behalf of RoyalHaskoningDHV. The main issue with designing this structure was how to achieve sufficient sound insulation between the building and its surroundings. In addition, it was important that underneath the roof an acoustically pleasant (study) environment was created with sufficiently dry acoustics. Various build-ups have been tested, and combined with calculations, to find the optimal build-up. Part of the research was investigating the effect of rain on the cushions.
Header image: photograph by Philppe Ruault, courtesy by OMA