The Yearbook 2016 presents
La Canopée – Les Halles Redevelopment Project

Cooperation through Geometry

The Yearbook wants to present successful projects. We want to contribute to making the construction industry fit for the future. The following project is an excellent example for that!

The complex geometries of this project required very close collaboration with the client in order to achieve the most suitable solution whilst maintaining the architectural aspiration.


La Canopée – Les Halles Redevelopment Project –

By using 3D parametric design it was possible to control the production machinery efficiently and directly without interrupting the data model.

© se-austria


Ville de Paris


Main Contractor



Patrick Berger et Jacques Anziutti


Ingerop Conseil & Ingénierie

Installation Period


Project Value

24 million euros


12,000 m²


900 tonnes

© se-Austria


Les Halles or “The Belly of Paris”, as they were called by the writer Emile Zola in his 1873 novel of the same name enjoy an excellent location close to the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre. This is a major Parisian transport hub located on five metro and three RER lines which is used by 750,000 passengers a day. Hence, interrupting train operations was not an option. The reopening on 5th April 2016 marked the end of five years of building work.

The architectural concept is related to that of the canopy or “Canopée”. The realisation is based on the combination of a steel substructure, an aluminium secondary structure and panels of glazing which overlap in a sweeping form.

The champagne-coloured coating of all the materials (steel, aluminium and glass) emphasises the effect of the roof, transforming it into an architectural highlight. The colour was chosen in order to align this roof with the surrounding sandstone buildings and, hence, allow it to merge harmonically into the cityscape.

In order to develop the geometry, Architekturbüro Patrick Berger et Jacques Anziutti (PBJA) used a “logigramme” which describes freeform geometry on the basis of a set of mathematical rules.

This logigramme was used to create a software script which was able to generate both the aluminium blades and the glazing. This made it possible to create the necessary workshop information for the significantly more than 20,000 unique elements and, hence, to start production very quickly. This model also provided the basic data for the secondary steel structure and enabled any architectural modifications from the design optimisation process to be implemented swiftly.

In addition to the glazing, the aluminium blades and the total of 900 tonnes of secondary steel structure which have to absorb the high tolerance of the primary steel structure, the challenging project also included further aluminium cladding which had to be adapted to the complex geometry. Scripts were also used here in order to make the design phase as efficient as possible.

Alongside the optimisation of the design phase in terms of both cost and timetable it was also essential to develop a sophisticated logistics solution and site organisation. Due to the tight situation on site in such a major city and the lack of storage space it was necessary to organise transport on a “just in time” basis. At the same time, however, the delivery sequence had to remain highly flexible because the size of the project and the high number of additional trades and contractors meant that the installation sequence was subject to change.

In order to guarantee this it was essential to start production as quickly as possible and to store the completed glazing, blades and steel structure in a way that permitted very quick delivery. The appropriate division of the areas allowed us to react flexibly to progress on site and ensure continuous installation.


Read more: