From the Telegraph UK:
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004.
May 23, 2004
At Least 6 Killed in Roof Collapse at Paris Airport
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 7:14 a.m. ET
PARIS (AP) -- A section of the futuristic, cylindrical passenger terminal at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport collapsed Sunday, killing up to six people and injuring three in a shower of concrete, glass and steel.
There was no sign that foul play was to blame for the collapse, Transport Minister Gilles de Robien said. The terminal opened 11 months ago after several construction delays, which French television station LCI said were caused by safety issues.
``Some witnesses heard cracks just before the collapse, cracks and some dust from the concrete,'' said Pierre Graff, president of the Paris airports authority.
An Air France plane coming from New York and another from Johannesburg, South Africa had just landed at Terminal 2E when the accident happened at about 7 a.m., Graff said. The identities of the dead were not immediately known.
The 450-yard-long cylinder-shaped structure sits on pylons about 20 feet off the ground. It is surrounded by glass and honeycombed with hundreds of square windows that bathe the area inside with natural light.
The collapsed area was about 50 yards long.
President Jacques Chirac said he was requesting ``that the necessary investigations be immediately started so that the causes of this accident can be determined as quickly as possible.''
Paris Fire Dept. Chief Laurent Vibert said six people were killed, while Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said five were confirmed dead.
Search dogs indicated there were few, if any, people still under the wreckage, said Michel Sappin, prefect of the Seine-Saint-Denis region where Charles de Gaulle airport is located just north of Paris.
Hundreds of rescue workers rushed to the scene and temporary hospitals were set up on the tarmac and inside the terminal.
The terminal will eventually have the capacity for 10 million passengers per year.
Just north of Paris, Charles de Gaulle is France's largest airport, handling about 58 million passengers a year, with more than half a million arrivals and departures.
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press
From the Telegraph UK:
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004.
The Herald Sun, Melbourne
Airport architect rushes back
From correspondents in Beijing
FRENCH architect Paul Andreu, who designed the terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport where a walkway collapsed killing five, refused to speculate on the cause today but said he would immediately return to France.
"I'm cutting short my stay here. I am shocked and will return tomorrow (Tuesday) to Paris," he told AFP in Beijing where he is working on the city's new landmark National Theatre. "I don't for a minute want to speculate on what might be the cause of the accident. On my return, I will place myself at the disposal of the French airport authorities."
He said the design of the terminal might have been "bold", but the materials used were "nothing revolutionary".
At least five people were killed and three others injured yesterday when the roof of a walkway that had opened just 11 months ago collapsed at Paris' main Charles de Gaulle airport. Several tonnes of concrete, metal bars and glass panelling came crashing down on an arrival and departure passageway at the airport's futuristic Terminal 2E, strewing rubble over a 30-metre area. A section of the glass-encased walkway caved in, falling on to service vehicles parked below.
At least one of the dead was Chinese, a man identified by Xinhua news agency as Wu Xin, a member of a Chinese trade delegation. A woman member of the delegation was "missing", Xinhua added. A Czech woman was also identified among the dead although the nationalities of the other victims were not immediately known.
© Herald and Weekly Times
How does this sort of thing happen in this high-tech age?
Human error knows no advances in technology.
Either way, the news is awful.
Associated Press says that there are signs (and sounds) of structural failure throughout the terminal. They're considering demolishing the entire building.
Paris Airport May Cancel Fewer Than 2% of Flights on Roof Crash
May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Aeroports de Paris, the city's airfields operator, expects fewer than 2 percent of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport's flights to be delayed or canceled in coming days as the result of a terminal roof's collapse on Sunday.
Almost all flights serving Terminal 2E, which may be closed for as long as a year, have been assigned to other sections, Rene Brun, director of the airport, said.
The 11-month-old, 750 million-euro ($907 million) Terminal 2E was shut after part of the roof fell in, causing the deaths of four people. The closure is more damaging to Air France, Europe's biggest airline, than to other carriers because the terminal is the core of transfer-flight operations in Paris for Air France and its partners in the SkyTeam alliance.
"Yesterday, we had 13,090 flights'' landing at or leaving the airport, Brun said at a press conference at a hotel at the airport. "Roughly a dozen were canceled.'' The number of flights will rise to about 15,000 on Saturday and Sunday, as weekends are busier, and "98 percent or 99 percent of those will be maintained, even if things are a bit more difficult.''
Aeroports de Paris expects to rebuild Terminal 2E "within several months,'' Brun said. Asked to specify the timeframe, he said rebuilding may take "more than a year.'' The authority doesn't know whether the building can be restored or razed and rebuilt, he said.
Terminal 2E is composed of a departure-gate area, where the roof collapsed, a check-in section and a shopping arcade. The check-in desks and shops may be useable within "several weeks,'' once engineers determine the areas are safe, Brun said.
Gates for A380
The airport expects to be ready to handle Airbus SAS's 555- seat A380 airliner as of April 2007, when a new extension to Terminal 2E will be completed, Brun said. That structure will accommodate six A380s at a time. Until then, the airport has gates for one A380 at Terminal 2C, one at Terminal 2A and two at Terminal 1, Brun said.
Besides Air France, Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Emirates plan to fly the A380 into Charles de Gaulle.
SkyTeam partners using Terminal 2E include Delta Air Lines Inc., the U.S.'s third-biggest carrier; Cintra SA's Aerovias de Mexico SA unit; the Czech Republic's CSA AS and Korean Air Co. Ltd. Routes served from the terminal include New York; Mexico City; Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Guangzhou, China.
Air France uses some other terminals at Charles de Gaulle. Many of its European flights serve Terminal 2F, just across from Terminal 2E, and from Terminal 2D.
The roof collapsed a month before French authorities were scheduled to introduce a bill in parliament to change Aeroports de Paris's status from a government authority to a state-owned limited-liability company, a condition for selling shares to the public.
Aeroports de Paris expects the French state to sell at least a third of the company's shares to the public, Chief Executive Pierre Graff said in March. The initial public offering is scheduled for the middle of next year.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Andrea Rothman in Paris firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Dan Stets at email@example.com
Everybody is't perfect. I just feel bad for people who died are injured and Paul Andreu.
May 27, 2004
The Architectural Blame Game
By CHRISTOPHER HAWTHORNE
FISSURE. Cracking. Collapse.
Those were the distressing words — the ones no architect, engineer or builder ever wants to hear — that filled news accounts of a disaster early Sunday morning at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, where part of the new Terminal 2E gave way, killing four people.
But there was another word buried just under the surface of those early reports: hubris. In their descriptions of the elliptical concrete, glass and steel terminal's "ultramodern" and "futuristic" design, journalists were at least implicitly making the case that its French architect, Paul Andreu, and his structural engineers might well turn out to be the primary culprits in its collapse.
In fact, by Wednesday, French officials were speculating that the blame would ultimately be laid, instead, at the feet of the contractors.
"When incidents like this happen, the press loves to trot out this morality play suggesting that the reason for the disaster is that the architect wanted to do something new or unusual," said Terence Riley, chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
He added that after four workers were killed in the collapse of a garage at the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City last fall, a building with much more straightforward design than Mr. Andreu is known for, "nobody thought it had been caused by the architect."
Though new technologies or design strategies have sometimes led to problems, the results have rarely been deadly. The windows falling in 1973 from the John Hancock Tower, built by I. M. Pei & Partners in Boston, got huge amounts of press attention, but killed no one. And when Foster & Partners' Millennium Bridge in London began swaying after it opened in June 2000, thanks to what engineers memorably called the problem of "synchronous lateral excitation" caused by pedestrians, plenty of people were nauseated, but no one was injured.
Mr. Andreu's design for the collapsed terminal relies in part on systems that are used in tunnel construction rather than in airports. Still, the terminal hardly looks daring compared with the feats of gravity-defying fancy that architects and engineers, aided by powerful and flexible software, are pulling off with regularity these days.
Buildings by architects like Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas, whose angular public library in Seattle opened last weekend to rapturous reviews, are upping the ante, leading the public to expect jaw-dropping engineering of one type or another in practically every major new building. At the same time, the engineers that make those swooping or cantilevered designs possible are themselves gaining a higher profile. Cecil Balmond, an engineer who often works with Mr. Koolhaas, has published his own stylish monograph, while the work of Guy Nordenson, an engineer based in Manhattan, has gained a following.
The trend is perhaps best epitomized by Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish architect who is also trained as a civil engineer, and whose buildings, including a planned transit hub at the World Trade Center site, often include anthropomorphic moving parts.
But all has not been rosy lately in the land of daring architects and their engineering partners. Mr. Nordenson is no longer part of the design team on the Freedom Tower at ground zero, a job that promised to raise his profile even higher. Mr. Calatrava, too, has seen his star dim a bit: his new roof for the main Olympic Stadium in Athens is only half complete and has become an unfortunate symbol of the city's rush to overcome construction delays as it gets ready for the Games this summer.
Now the collapse of Mr. Andreu's airport terminal seems to be adding to the perception that high-design solutions can sometimes make for little more than expensive experiments. In truth, most cases of building collapse have nothing to do with how innovative the architecture is, said Leslie Robertson, who was a chief engineer of the World Trade Center towers.
"When problems occur, it's usually in the interface" between architects, engineers and contractors, he said. In other words, it is in translating the design from one office to the next that mistakes are amplified and become deadly. "Seldom can one say with any certainty, `That's it, that right there is where the trouble happened,' " he added.
No matter what the investigation into the collapse ultimately reveals, said Jon Magnusson, chairman and chief executive of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, a structural engineering firm in Seattle, "It can't solely be the architecture."
"Every structural engineer has a duty," he said. "If the architecture doesn't allow you to do something that needs to be done to keep the building up, you must stop."
Mr. Andreu is one of the world's most prominent airport designers, having worked on dozens of such projects. He has also designed a new Chinese national theater in Beijing. Chinese officials said the Paris collapse would not affect plans for the theater.
If they had decided to scale back the project, though, it probably would not have come as a shock. We have always asked architects to help push the boundaries of art and science but turned on them, even when they were not fully, or even partly, to blame, when we feel buildings have put us at risk.
The most telling case is probably that of the 13th-century Gothic cathedral in the French city of Beauvais. Anyone who has taken an architectural history course will recall the story of that cathedral, whose highest vault fell in 1284. Plenty of historians have blamed the collapse on overly bold design, peppering their accounts with architects who "rushed" into the sky.
But Marvin Trachtenberg, a professor at New York University, said the evidence actually suggests a more mundane problem. The vaults fell, he said, "because there was a miscalculation in the buttressing, an eccentric placement of key supports."
In other words, the cathedral gave way not because the architects tried to go too high or because they were experimenting with new forms, but because they failed to properly apply structural knowledge they had used before, with predictable success. Perhaps this will turn out to be what happened in the same country exactly 720 years later.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
My bet is shear failure at the base support of the archway. It looks like it snapped clean and came through.
That is usually a sign of insufficient reinforcement.
I will probably bet on improper or non-existant placement of necessary reinforcement bars at the base of the arch.
This might be in combination with heat, or creep of the concrete developing stress concentrations that eventually caused catastrophic sudden (non-ductile) failure.
yep.. but all the rebar in the world probably wouldn't have held it without some columns somewhere.
May 28, 2004
Paris Airport Collapse: A View From the Art World
To the Editor:
Re "New Cracks Stop Search at Terminal After Collapse" (news article, May 25), about the collapse of a section of Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris:
Your article does a disservice by including a reference to "extreme designs" and linking innovation to danger before any analysis is available to explain what might have caused the tragedy.
The "fashion for increasingly innovative buildings" cited implies that there is a potential new and pervasive risk in the soundness of recent such buildings.
In fact, this "fashion" began more than 100 years ago with the daring experiments in cast iron, steel and concrete structures that were intended not only to reach great heights but also to replace the traditional wooden structures that had for centuries been the greatest risk to life and property in urban areas throughout the world.
Museum of Modern Art
Long Island City, Queens
May 25, 2004
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Architect Behind Collapsed Paris Airport Terminal at Center of Probe Linked to Beijing's New Opera House
By Verena von Derschau
Associated Press - 1*June 2004
PARIS (AP)*— The architect of a futuristic terminal at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport whose roof collapsed, killing four, is at the center of a French probe opened last year into alleged financial wrongdoing, judicial officials revealed Friday.
Paul Andreu, who designed Terminal 2E, faces suspicions of alleged irregularities in the way he won a bid to design an opera house in Beijing, China, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
The investigation*— which does not specifically target Andreu or his firm — centers on alleged "misuse of company property." Paris prosecutors opened the probe last year after receiving anonymous letters alleging kickbacks and double-pay for Andreu and his firm.
Until now, no one is under investigation in connection with the probe, conducted by Investigating Judge Anne-Elisabeth Honorat.
The letters alleged that between 2000 and 2002, Andreu was paid as a salaried architect for Paris airport operator Aéroports de Paris, or ADP, while his private firm received fees from ADP. In addition, illicit funds were allegedly funneled to Chinese intermediaries so that Andreu could win the opera house contract, according to the letters.
Andreu, 63, allegedly began seeking the opera house bid in 1998. ADP signed an "assistance agreement" for his Chinese projects, Le Parisien newspaper reported Friday [28 May].
No one answered repeated calls Friday evening by The Associated Press to Andreu's Paris office seeking comment.
The futuristic terminal 2E, a showcase at Charles de Gaulle, has been closed indefinitely after last Sunday's collapse [23 May], which killed four people. The collapse risks tarnishing the image of the airport just as Paris works to burnish its reputation as an important European hub.
Andreu, who has said he was stunned and saddened by the roof collapse, rushed back to Paris from China on Tuesday to help determine why a portion of the structure came crashing down.
Two investigations, one judicial and one administrative, have been opened to determine whether the design, calculations, construction or the ground upon which the terminal was built were at fault.
Andreu has worked on projects in Dubai, Japan, Chile and elsewhere.
New search for bodies at collapsed Paris terminal
PARIS, June 15 (AFP) - Police with sniffer dogs carried out a new search for bodies on Tuesday among the debris of a roof section that collapsed at Charles de Gaulle airport last month, sources close to the investigation said on Tuesday.
After a four-hour search the specialists, who travelled to the airport north of Paris from southern France, uncovered nothing new, a source said.
According to another source, two people believed to have been in transit via the airport on the day of the accident are still unaccounted for. The two had been travelling from Indonesia, the source said.
Four people were killed and three hurt on May 23 when a section of roof collapsed in the airport's ultra-modern Terminal E, a 650-metre tubular building.
Experts are still trying to determine the cause of the deadly roof collapse, and the terminal remains closed to passengers.
Air France said on Tuesday that it was changing the times of some of its transatlantic flights, as a result of the incident.