GRAITEC Group News

GRAITEC Group News


Renovation and extension of the Volcano Museum (Réunion Island)

Renovation and extension of the Volcano Museum The Volcano Museum is a place of scientific and technical culture focused around the central theme of the world of volcanoes especially of the Piton de la Fournaise Volcano. Open to the public since November 1992, the Reunion Council has decided to give the Volcano Museum a new impetus and make it "a prime tourist attractive place". "I would like the Piton de la Fournaise to be more attractive. It has to be promoted for the international influence of the Reunion Island" says Jean-François Sita, the vice-president of the Réunion Council.

It is in that context that the company RIEFFEL, contractor of the renovation and extension of the Volcano Museum project, has requested i2M, the structural engineering office, to work on the building execution studies. The building consists of 5 pyramids joined together (2 + 3). The bearing structure made of hot-dip galvanized coated metal frame is red as the volcanic lava color.

Construction details:

Renovation and extension of the Volcano Museum

The metal frame pyramids supporting glass panels are made of a 8mm thick outer tempered glazing, a 16mm air space, and an internal laminated glass such as a 88,4. The structure is intended to host a workshop, a classroom, a reception hall, a restaurant area and a shop.

Characteristics of the project:

One of the features of the structure is the interpenetration of the pyramids generating hips and valleys forming specific angles and for which assemblies between the metal frame and the glazing frame staples have to be designed with a maximum of accuracy to avoid any unplanned adjustment.

Another special feature is the position of the glazing, designed as an outside attached glazing in order to ensure the building the utmost transparency. The glazing suspended on the metal frame which becomes the fully outside exposed structure as the interior volumes are on the outside, apparently separated by the flat building shell of the glass panels. This requires a precise layout of the panels to manufacture 49 different forms by a specialized subcontractor based in Hong Kong, with the DXF trace files generated by the 3D modeling applications.

The use of Advance Steel:

Renovation and extension of the Volcano Museum

It is to meet this challenge and the particular shape requested by the architect that i2M has used the CAD software Advance Steel in order to model in 3D the entire structure including facing glass panels and concrete foundations. In fact, the complexity of this project, the multitude of small parts needed to fix the glasses and to evacuate rainwater has been achieved with the use of Advance Steel and the possibilities to have 3D and rendering work. Without Advance Steel it would have been impossible to lead such a project on time and without errors in the workshop or on site.

From the 3D model, Advance Steel has automatically enabled us to get creation of drawings and DSTV files for the fabrication by the RIEFFEL Company, including accurate and detailed assembly plans with 2D and 3D views for an absolute comprehension of the works. In addition to the assembly documentation, the company i2M has converted the Advance Steel 3D model into 3D DWF format for a better understanding of the assemblies of the different complex parts and facing glasses by navigating in the 3D modeling on the screen of a laptop used on the site.

The Volcano Museum will reopen soon. Its expansion and renovation will give the structure a new attractiveness and a regional, national or even international influence.

Renovation and extension of the Volcano Museum Renovation and extension of the Volcano Museum

According Jean-Marc Bouchut, Founder and Managing Director of BET STRUCTURES i2M, "The contribution of Advance Steel has been crucial in the effective management of the project whose complexity is matched with its originality. Advance Steel has supported us in this project and has enabled us to combine inventiveness and technical constraints."