The new Medical School of Montpellier, designed by François Fontes, is enclosed by several façades stiffened by the use of glass fins of until 12.7 meters high. The main façade assures the monumentality of the institution with over 65 meters long. The façade glass panels, with a maximum size of 3.8×2.8m, are piled transferring the dead load to the bottom panels through plastic setting blocks. The façade panels are attached with patch-fitting bolted to titanium inserts embedded in the vertical glass fins.
The structural system is designed to resist seismic actions and to accommodate the displacement of the main structure under an earthquake scenario. The stability to lateral buckling and under seismic loads is guaranteed with a system of cables and rods which transmits the in-plane forces to the main structure. The post-breakage behaviour of the multilaminate heat-strengthened glass panels and the design of the façade guarantee the stability even under very aggressive accidental scenarios.
The design, simulation, testing and fabrication of the structural elements of the façade are discussed in the paper.