After the Clément Ader plant in 1989 (Airbus A330 and A340) and before the A350 plant, the Jean-Luc Lagardère facility was opened in 2004 to house the Airbus A380 assembly operations.
The building is designed in three parts with its assembly station in the centre, separated from the three test stations (east side) and the three construction stations (west side) by a 250-meter long and 40-meter high firewall.
The 200,000-square-meter plant is located on a 200-hectare site dedicated to Airbus and its subcontractors for activities related to aircraft development.
As leader of the project management consortium, WSP France participated in the master plan development of the Aéroconstellation joint development zone (ZAC), near Toulouse-Blagnac airport, as well as in the design of the assembly halls, ground test stations, as well as the offices, restaurants, convention centre and related services. WSP worked closely with the Airbus team to define and integrate all the interfaces for various projects equipment.
WSP was in charge of construction and site management, global project coordination, cost and time schedule control for the whole facility.
Designed by architects Cardète & Huet, the undulating roof formed by seven metal frames and blue-gray cladding integrates the project into its suburban landscape, reflected by the stainless steel cladding of the eight, 90-meter wide and 27-meter high sliding doors.
Simultaneous development of the A380, the tooling and the factory
This project is exceptional due to its size, technical complexity and very short completion time. Airbus and the project management group set up a dedicated team on the site, which led to a co-design, with very close links between the project management and project management teams.
A completely new assembly process for the aircraft (including assembly of the sections and wings at the same workstation) was developed in parallel with the building design.
Numerous iterative scenarios led to the design process and the construction of the project and its infrastructure. At the same time, new implementation techniques have been developed, such as hoisting fully equipped roofs with very long spans.
This innovative way of working made it possible to design, build and deliver the entire project in just three years, from spring 2001 to spring 2004.