@ENPC – Sept. 2017 – C. Douthe, R. Mesnil, T. Gobin

This intensive workshop is dedicated to double curvature structures and the discovery of their design and manufacturing methods. The 2017 edition exploits for the first time the Build’in platform of the Co-Innovation Lab des Ponts and its robotic manufacturing cell. The week is organized around the construction of a wooden pavilion that will provide an innovative response to the main structural constraints of envelope structures: simplicity of connections, flatness of panels and formal freedom. Such an accomplishment would not be possible without the involvement of our partners: Simonin, Würth France, HAL Robotics, ABB France and Schunk. Let them be warmly thanked here.

Learning Objectives

  • Give an overview of the constraints inherent to any construction project with curved structures or envelops and as well as geometrical, mechanical and technological solutions to meet them.
  • Introduce the students to detailed engineering, to the specifics of timber construction, to the use of advanced manufacturing tools (robotic machining, laser cutting, digital milling, etc.), and to geometric shape control methods.
  • Confront theory and practice by passing from design to fabrication of a structure on a large scale, and introducing by there the notions of tolerance, play and tuning…
  • Share the experience of our partners (Simonin: manufacturer of complex wooden structures, Würth France: professional tooling and hardware, ABB France & Schunk & HAL: robotics manufacturing, Navier: interaction geometry, structure and technology).

Program of the Pavilions

  • The challenge: design / build a temporary pavilion of about 50 square meters in one week.
  • The project: a reciprocal structure covered and braced by flat panels, an innovative construction based on the expertise of partners on wood structures with complex geometry.
  • The method: realization of the preliminary design studies, design of the robotic machining line and partial prefabrication upstream of the week by the pedagogical team which provides the elements to the students in charge of a counter-study and assembly .
  • The objective: the exhibition of the structure on the site of the Ecole des Ponts ParisTech and inauguration for the “20 years of the School on the Descartes campus” on 17 October 2017.

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Partnerships and consultancy

Partnership were essential to the success of the 2017 edition. The technical skills involved and the pavilion size required close cooperation with contributors from the whole construction industry and beyond. Namely, this work was possible thanks to:

  • Laurent Hauswirth (Professor of Differential Geometry at UPEM-LAMA), consultant for the rationalisation methods of the initial surface,
  • Thibault Schwarz & T. Gobin (Co-founder HAL Robotics), consultants for the robot handling and the tool path optimisation,
  • Loïc Simonin (Simonin), consultant for the machining of wood pieces, the general organisation of the robotic chain organisation, as well as the design of connections,
  • Matthieu Tintiller (ABB France), consultant for the organisation and safety of the robotic cell, as well as the general calibration of the two co-working robots,
  • Stephen Conord & Thibault Mandallaz (Würth France), consultants for the detailing and design of connections and their set up on site.

The financial support of Simonin (who provided the wood pieces) and Würth France (who provided screws and other hardware and lent professionnal portable tools) is also greatly acknowledged.

Features of the 2017 edition

Coming soon…


STUDENTS: Beck Aurélien, Bellec Mathilde, Berrubé Alban, Borzone Mirko Antonio, Canela Gomà Ignacio, Chatelain-Lacam Louise, Corres Sojo Enrique, Dupont Maxime, Duval Laure, Figueras Cadenet Pau, Glevarec Quentin, Graillot Brieuc, Kamata Yukiho, Levionnois Anne, Maia Avelino Ricardo, Maitenaz Sébastien, Migliari Matteo, Montagne Nicolas, Ninino Bastian, Ortiz Hazarian Rafael Henrique, Pastor Moreno David, Pedrosa Torres Pedro Henrique, Pitance Jérôme, Ramos Musman Thiago, Souiki Amine, Tatarczak Agnieszka, Vaz Guilherme Frederico, Veres Lia Nóra, Vianna Da Costa e Faria Ana Clara, Zerhouni Sonia
STAFF: Pierre Margerit, Nicolas Ducoulombier, Xavier Tellier, Hocine Delmi, Léo Demont, Lionel Du Peloux, Olivier Baverel, Jean-François Caron, Stephen Conord, Thibault Mandallaz, Loïc Simonin, Laurent Fluxa, Matthieu Tintiller, Laurent Hauswirth,  Tristan Gobin, Romain Mesnil, Cyril Douthe.