ArcelorMittal Differdange contributes to the innovative extension of Thionville’s shopping centre

The extension of the south wing belonging to the Shopping Centre Geric in Thionville has been achieved in 10 months, from February to November 2013, in record time thanks to the use of steel. With a surface area of approximately 5,000 m², the extension includes both new stores and three car park levels built with cellular beams. This success is due to the collaboration within ArcelorMittal of the Research & Development, the Commercial Sections, the Finishing and the Differdange site.

This is a premiere in France: “Such speed would not have been possible if we had used concrete," says Olivier Vassart, R&D manager for structural long products. This scheduling of works ensured the shops’ opening for both Christmas and New Year periods 2012 and 2013, during which a large proportion of their sales are made.

Angelina™ and cellular beams

The steel solution enables reductions in weight, cost and construction time and favours a more positive environmental impact than concrete.

Cellular beams from Differdange aim at reducing the height between floors and increasing the feeling of space due to the large spans and the openness of the beams. Angelina™ beams, from the same mill, are used between the ground floor and the first car park level, other cellular beams used on the three car park levels provide an aesthetic effect of openness and optimise the entire structure. These beams complement the building frame, also built of steel.

The Esch research centre contribution

The involvement of the Esch/Alzette research centre was decisive in the choice of steel and the 1,000 tonnes of steel supplied by the Differdange mill for the construction of this complex. The Esch centre performed all the building structure calculations as well as the fire engineering calculations. Due to the lack of a reference structure in France, it was necessary to comply with specific requirements settled by the building control authorities. Having a steel multi-storey car park on top of a building visited by the public in large numbers is a first. Moreover, this car park is built with cellular beams, also a premiere in the French market. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate that this structure provides maximum safety. To this end, the latest technical and technological advances developed by the Esch research centre were employed. 

"This project will become a reference in open car parks and shopping centres by virtue of the optimisation of the structures and the steel architecture" concludes Olivier Vassart.

Oliver Vassart, R&D manager for structural long products