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Mark Melnichuk RATP Bus Center Thiais, France Architect: ECDM (Emmanuel Combarel & Dominique Marrec) Design

Concept The RATP Bus Center is located in an industrial area dominated by homogenous rectangular boxes. The architects took this industrial landscape and reduced it to its primary material, a blend of concrete and asphalt. Using this material, they investigated the principle function of a bus park, a vast expanse of concrete and asphalt on which buses are driven and parked. Out of this surface, they pulled the building out of the ground so to speak. The building faade is a continuation of the ground as it slopes up at the ground plane. This continuity rises up the faade and curves over the roof. The building is designed in a way where it has no apparent beginning nor ending. The materiality of the concrete ground, covered in a pattern of dots resembling Lego bricks continues up the faade and around to the roof as a unifying element that joins the building to the immediate surroundings and its contextual setting.

Materiality The building utilizes a double skin faade of a 180mm concrete wall encased in 30mm Ductal panels. Ductal is an innovative iteration of traditional concrete called UHPC (Ultra High Performance Concrete). Instead of using aggregates, Ductal contains Silica fume, steel fibers and other ingredients to create a very dense and robust building material which is incredibly strong. Ductal enabled the intricate dot pattern found on the faade of the building as Ductal was dense enough to be able to fill the complex forms used to produce the Lego effect. Roof Detail The roof detail was chosen as it is crucial to the design intent of the architects of continuing the ground plane onto and over the building and giving the impression that the building wall arose from the ground. The roof detail continues the dot pattern found on the faades. It curves the plane of the faade similar to the way the ground curved up to meet the wall. Though the skin of the building is meant to be a continuation of the ground plan that extends up on to the faade and over the building, the dot pattern

Mark Melnichuk and ductal panels end at the roof detail. However, the building as viewed from the exterior achieves the aesthetic goals of the architects due to the curved roof panel giving the impression that the skin continues over the building onto the roof and down the other side. The roof detail consists of a prefabricated curved Ductal panel which was formed off site for extreme precision and detail. Once on site the panel is affixed to the 180mm reinforced concrete wall. The connection is made using two different techniques. The bottom of the panel is attached using a KEIL brace system, used on the regular panels. In order to securely fix the roof panels to the wall, a special right angle brace is used to secure the panel to the top of the parapet. This allows the panel to hang over the top of the flat roof. A waterproof cap flashing is attached to the panel to drain water away from the panel, over the insulation covered parapet and onto the flat roof to be drained away. The prefabrication and relatively simple bracket connections allowed for quick and easy installation onsite requiring only two people to assemble the Ductal faade. The roof detail exemplifies the innovative material and fabrication technique used in the building. The strength of Ductal enables the extremely thin 30mm panel to overhang without any reinforcement and the fabrication method allows multiple panels to be formed using the same molds. Most of the roof panels are identical with the exception of the panels that meet a window cutout in the faade. Without the use of Ductal, the dot pattern would not be possible with regular concrete. My model used painted wood as a representative material for concrete. The Lego dot pattern was achieved with a non-slip bath mat which was laid upon painted veneer which rested on a lattice assembled with laser-cut MDF pieces. Actual brackets and angles are used to fix the panel to the concrete wall which is also represented with MDF board. The flashing cap, insulation and vapour barrier are all actual building materials. My model was constructed at a 1:1 scale to accurately portray the dot pattern faade and the assembly of the connections used to hold the panel in place.

Bibliography: "Dezeen." Dezeen Thiais Bus Centre by ECDM architects Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>. "Btiment administratif du centre bus RATP Thiais." Emmanuel Combarel Dominique Marrec architectes RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>. "RATP Bus Center in Thiais / ECDM." ArchDaily. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>.