The Conference Center of Badajoz, designed by architects José Selgas and Lucia Cano and built in 2006, is an outstanding example of an elegant public building integrated into a consolidated urban area. The main building has a circular layout and is surrounded by an external façade – like a big fence- made of GFRP profiles.
Apart from the excellent mechanical and physical properties of GFRP profiles (high durability, high specific strength and low weight) the architects also wanted to use a translucent material. This structure is a helix of 75 m in diameter with a maximum height of 14 m. More than 12 km of GFRP pultruded translucent profiles were used to build it. These profiles have an external elliptic cross-section and define the helix, which is supported by very slender vertical galvanized steel columns of only 117 mm in diameter. A big challenge was obtaining the desired cross-section of the profiles. The pultrusion manufacturing process produces straight profiles, and bending them gives rise to significant stresses and warping. The elliptic cross-section was thus obtained by joining three profiles with a smaller stiffness.