international association for shell and spatial structures

  • Actors & Projects - Esquillan


Honorary Member 1986

Born in Fontainebleau, near Paris, he attended courses at Châlons-sur-Marne École des Arts et Métiers from 1919 to 1922. On completing his military service, he was taken on at Simon Boussiron's design office. Simon Boussiron became his true master, along with Roger Valette, the firm's consultant engineer. Appointed as head of structural research in 1936, Esquillan was appointed Vice Technical Director in 1939, then Technical Director from 1941 to 1971.
He achieved seven world-record structural designs. The first was in 1934 with La Roche Guyon Bridge, spanning 161 m, a record length for a suspended deck bridge in reinforced concrete.
This record was to be followed by six others, with the bridges of Coudette (1943), Givors (1950), La Voulte (1953), Tancarville for the height of the piles in 1957, the Marignane hangars (1951) whose span of 100 m was soon surpassed by the CNIT vault which, with 206 m in length of facade and 238 m under the ridge valleys, still holds the world record for span and for the largest area (7500 m2) held up by three supporting points.
"Creating work of a new type or of exceptional dimensions calls for imagination, tenacity and perseverance and above all, a great deal of reflection, work and time, as it is impossible to grasp all the givens and particularities of a problem at once and immediately extract the synthesis and solution."

Photo credit: R. Motro

Projects by Nicolas Esquillan

Bridges and miscellaneous works

  • La Roche Guyon bridge. Over the Seine river (1934)
  • La Coudette bridge. Over the Gave river in Pau, near Peyrehorade in the Landes (1938-1939 and 1941-1942)
  • Moret viaduct. On the RN 5 highway, on the two arms of the Loing river and the canal (1956-1957)
  • Tancarville bridge pylons. On the Seine river, south of Le Havre (1957-1958)
  • Mediterranean railway viaduct. Over the Rhône river, south of Lyon (1949-1950)
  • Cocody water tower. In Abidjan in Ivory Coast (1953)
  • La Voulte railway bridge. Over the Rhône river, south of Lyon (1952-1955)
  • Houphouët-Boigny bridge. On the lagoon in Abidjan in Ivory Coast (1954-1957)

Thin shells: Marignane

  • Double hangar for Marseille airport (1949-1952)

Thin shells: CNIT

  • Exhibition hall in Paris-La Défense (1956-1958)

Other thin shells

  • Castillon avalanche barrier. On the RN 618 near La Mongie (1959)
  • Centenary Exhibition Hall, Turin exhibition centre. Firm of Gastone Gerrini (1961)
  • Ice stadium. Boulevard Clémenceau in Grenoble. Firms Boussiron and Limousin (1965-1967)

You can find more information about Esquillan's projects here.

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