Lionel du Peloux, Frédéric Tayeb, Olivier Baverel, and Jean-François Caron, France

The Outstanding Paper Award is remitted each year to the author(s) of a paper published in the preceding year’s issues of the IABSE quarterly Journal Structural Engineering International (SEI), encouraging and rewarding contributions of the highest quality. The Award is presented in the categories ‘Scientific Paper’ and ‘Technical Report’

IABSE has awarded the Outstanding Paper Award 2017 in the category ‘Technical Report’ to: “Construction of a Large Composite Gridshell Structure: A Lightweight Structure Made with Pultruded Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer Tubes”, by Lionel du Peloux; Frédéric Tayeb; Olivier Baverel, and Jean-François Caron, France, SEI 2/2016, (May.) pp. 160-167.

The Ephemeral Cathedral of Créteil at Paris, France, is a gridshell structure made of composite materials. Built in 2013, this 350 m2 religious edifice is a temporary church meant to gather the parishioners during the two year renovation of their permanent cathedral. This large-scale prototype represents a first in the building industry which still shows excessive apprehension for the use of non-traditional materials such as composites, especially when it comes to structural applications.
After a brief description of the structure, this paper gives an insight into the field of elastic gridshells and discusses the benefits of composite materials in such structures. The overall design process employed, from the three dimensional (3D) shape designed by the architect to a full structural shell, is then explained. Finally, complexities due to the connections are highlighted and solutions are presented.