The RATP bus center in Thiais (France)


The RATP recently unveiled the new Thiais bus centre building (Val-de-Marne), located near Orly airport and the Rungis national wholesale market. Designed by the architects Emmanuel Combarel and Dominique Marrec, from the Paris firm ECDM, this new RATP facility is the first building totally covered with a skin of Ductal®, an ultra-high performance concrete developed by Lafarge.


The effect results from the use, at the edges of the building but also as an envelope, of paired panels of Ductal®, Lafarge‘s ultra-high performance concrete, which has exceptional qualities in terms of strength, ductility and longevity.  


Ductal® can be used to achieve remarkable esthetic effects. In this case, it was used as the key element of the architectural project, as envelope, skin and ground-wall connection. The great fluidity of Ductal®, obtained in part by the use of very fine granular particles in its composition, enables it to adapt to the slightest details of formwork. The resulting surfaces, exceptionally regular, reproduce exactly the texture of the molds.

Consistently gray in color, this film with round studs, like a piece of "LEGO", enlarged and indefinitely reproduced on the walls and roof of the building, is attached as cladding to the building itself and laid flat around the base. The upper edges of the building are beautifully rounded, giving a real impression of harmony. It envelops, in a single movement, the sidewalks and facades to turn into a ceiling over the entrances to the building and lose itself in the sky


The shell is indented at regular intervals by openings in which special external glazing is fitted, superposing mirror point frames and color films: blue, green, yellow and orange. Contrasting with the gray of the building, they are a plastic reproduction of the colors of the signs and advertising billboards of the nearby shopping district.