Project Description

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Paris, France

The City of Sciences was conceived to be the largest museum dedicated to science and technology in the world. The architect, Adrien Fainsilber, desired a façade of maximum transparency. It was inaugurated in 1986 by then-French President François Mitterrand.

The original occupants of the site were abattoirs, servicing Paris’ meat demand. Fainsilber’s vision for a transparent façade was assisted by Peter Rice, engineer of Centre Pomidou in Paris, who in turn contacted Martin Francis, because of Francis’ work on glass with Norman Foster. Rice and Francis founded RFR in order to engineer the façades bioclimatiques.

The key to the façade’s robust yet flexible structure is the pioneering use of cable trusses, further developed into a patented articulated bolt fixing system which is used around the world today.