Renzo Piano’s Fondation Pathé is situated in a Parisian courtyard behind the street facade as a space of working, archive, and exhibition for France’s important cinematography heritage. The building’s abnormal shape is designed parametrically and achieved by a continuous and suspended reinforced concrete shell that both supports and rests on the interior steel and concrete skeleton. The top of the building is a transparent glass dome supported by curved glulam beams that rest on a peripheral tubular steel frame fixed around the edge of the concrete shell. The entire curved façade is covered by a layer of perforated aluminum plates that provide shading and a uniform texture.
The structural model was completed in six weeks in October – November, 2015. We realized the building’s concrete shell with fiberglass casted from CNC-aided molds. We soldered each of the I-beams on the interior skeleton and used a piece of Plexiglas to represent the position of the concrete core. The wooden dome was built in its original method from layered and bent wood stripes. (Course “Structural Systems,” taught by Mark R. Cruvellier.)