Médiacité Shopping Centre’s Roof Structure Built with the Help of bocad-3D Software

Médiacité is a gigantic new shopping centre in Liège, Belgium, spreading across 45,000m² and including a 7,500m² Olympic ice rink and a 6,500m² cinema as well as the new RTBF production studios with a space of 10,500m².

The centre’s complex roof structure comprises a series of compound curves which extend through the whole length of the building creating an undulating form. The roof was initially intended to symbolise a river, but has come to be described as a snake-like construction. Not a single one of all beams is straight, posing a great challenge to any software and fabrication.

Construction of a challenging roof design

bocad provided the software to meet the demands of this outstanding idea and design. The roof is a lattice structure of free-spanning steel beams.

All beams have rectangular sections assembled from plates by welding with two webs and two flanges, of varying thickness and combinations. The beams are single or double curved, have widths of 125mm and 650mm, and depths from 400mm to 1300mm. The bocad model was generated on the basis of 62,569 points (x, y, z). They were situated in the centre line of each beam in distances of 10cm to ensure great accuracy. The total length of all welded beams is 6.25km of which approximately 40% are double curved. The construction weigh a total of 750 tons.

The roof was then covered with panels of ethylene tetraflouroethylene (EFTE) which is known from the Olympic Swimming Centre in Beijing and the Allianz Arena in Munich. The serpent of 350m winds itself through the building offering a lot of daylight, warmth and visual delight. It symbolises not only outstanding design, but also many ecological features that were taken into account when designing this building.

Project details

  • Construction period: 26 months, completed August 2009
  • Contract value: $15m
  • Gross Area: 5600m²
  • Client: Wilhelm & Co.
  • Project objectives: Design of shopping mall, roof and piazzas
  • Structure: Buro Happold
  • Architect: Ron Arad Associates
  • Fabricator: IEMANTS, STALL CONSTRUCTIES-Belgium

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