Modern Architecture with high performance material from 3M - Montpellier: Sports centre in the cloud

Montpellier: Sports centre in the cloud
A pneumatic pressure curves the films made of 3M Dyneon Fluoroplastic ETFE outwards. This gives the facade a flexible, three-dimensional shape that is more reminiscent of clouds. Copyright: ©ROXIM (PresseBox) (Neuss, ) At first glance it is clear why the new sports and leisure centre in Montpellier operated be the ROXIM Group is called ‘Le Nuage’ – the cloud. Over a width of 60 metres transparent film cushions curve outwards from the first floor to a height of 17 metres and give the building a unique air of lightness. The films of the three-layer cushions are extruded from the high performance material 3M Dyneon Fluoroplastic ETFE. 

It is used worldwide in an ever-increasing number of new commercial and public buildings, because the light architecture opens up new degrees of freedom for an innovative language of forms in architecture.

Architectural highlight
Since October 2014 Montpellier on the French Mediterranean coast has had one more architectural eye catcher with this building. On five floors it offers space for extensive sports facilities, a swimming pool with a sauna, childcare facilities, medical practices, beauty salons and shops. Le Nuage is owned by Roxim. The family-owned company covers every aspect of property development from urban planning to property management.

Only five per cent of the weight per unit area of glass
The building rests on a concrete base on which the texture of the shuttering boards is clearly visible. Above that the film cushions begin with a total area of 3,000 square metres. The cushions consist of three layers of NOWOFLON® ET 6235Z film. Nowofol Kunststoffprodukte GmbH & Co. KG extruded them from the high performance material Dyneon ETFE. This material is extremely resistant to chemical influences of all kinds and conforms to fire class B1 according to DIN 4102. The films made from it are very resistant to tearing and to UV radiation. Their weight per unit area is only five per cent that of glass, therefore very slender support structures are sufficient. In Le Nuage the static requirements are 40 to 60 per cent lower compared to a glass construction. In addition, the surface of the films is so smooth that a normal rain shower is enough to clean them to a large extent.

Three-dimensional facade
The Spanish specialist for textile facades, IASO SA, assembled the films and mounted them on the shaped metal frames according to the architect’s specifications. The largest cushion is 18 metres long and 6.5 metres high. The two outer films are 300 micrometres thick, the middle film 150 micrometres. A pneumatic pressure of 250 Pascal curves the films outwards. This gives the facade a flexible, three-dimensional shape that is more reminiscent of clouds. During the heating season the pressure generation is converted to natural ventilation and the air is heated to 42 degrees Celsius.

Automatic shading lowers operating costs
ETFE films are highly transparent and let more than 90 per cent of the sunlight through. Nowofol printed a special geometrical pattern on the films for Le Nuage. In the case of strong sunlight, as is usual on the Mediterranean coast in summer, the pneumatic pressure presses the internal film closer towards the outer film. The printed patterns on the two films complement each other to form a shadow over the entire surface in order to prevent strong heating of the building. In this way the southern and western facades achieve a reduction in solar irradiation of more than 50 per cent. As a result, the energy requirement for the air conditioning of the building is reduced considerably in summer.

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3M Deutschland GmbH
Carl-Schurz-Str. 1
D-41453 Neuss
Judith Seifert
Manager Emerging Markets and Marketing Communications Europe

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