Centre Georges Pompidou-Metz, France

Customer Project

13 December 2010

France RSTAB Timber Structures

Structural Engineering Structural Timber Design
SJB.Kempter.Fitze AG
Eschenbach, Germany
Construction Main Contractor
Demathieu & Bard
Paris, France

Timber Construction
Holzbau Amann GmbH
Weilheim-Bannholz, Germany
Architecture Shigeru Ban Architects Europe
Jean de Gastines Architectes
Investor Metz Métropole, France

Length: 100 m | Width: 100 m | Height: 38 m
Nodes: 29,998 | Members: 40,611 | Materials: 19 | Cross-Sections: 108

The arts and cultural center "Centre Pompidou-Metz" in France is a branch of the museum of modern and contemporary arts "Centre Georges Pompidou" in Paris, one of the most significant museums worldwide.

The building was designed by Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect, and represents an oversized Chinese straw hat (external dimensions: 100 m x 100 m).


The girders are symbolizing the straw plaited in three directions, dividing the surface in regular hexagons and triangles.

The hat is pierced by three big tubes, consisting of reinforced concreted, stacked on top of each other. The top of the hat is crowned by a hexagonal steel tower.

The roof structure is made of timber beams and consists of intersecting multi‑layer chords. The curved glued-laminated beams are connected by prestressed threaded bars and disk springs in the points of intersection. In this way, the structural transmission of forces in the joints is ensured by friction.

The parallel running chords are connected to each other by plywood panels and screw threads. Thus, they have the effect of a Vierendeel truss with semi‑rigid connections.

Structural Analysis and Design

The complex system having approx. 41.000 members was designed by the Swiss company SJB.Kempter.Fitze, using RSTAB and the add‑on modules TIMBER, DYNAM, and RSBUCK.

The entire supporting structure made of steel and reinforced concrete was designed by means of a "simplified" system in order to take into account appropriately the effects resulting from mutual dependency.

To calculate the internal forces in the connections and structural components, each cord and shear plate as well as the joint sections had to be modeled with the respective spatial orientation.

The load situations were determined by CSTB (Centre scientifique et technique du bâtiment) in a comprehensive wind tunnel analysis. In addition to the self‑weight, temperature and live loads, the calculation included 96 wind load cases, 80 snow load cases and the resulting membrane loads.

Finally, the 3D FEA software RFEM was used to model and design 216 connections to the steel construction.

Programs Used for Structural Analysis

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