November 28, 2014

Students high up in the sky. Visit to the Vienna Airport Control Tower


During the November Module, the students of the MEng Membrane Lightweight Structures had the opportunity to visit the Vienna Airport Control Tower, and more specifically the membrane structure of the tower.

The 109m high tower is situated at the main entrance to the airport, providing the surrounding area with a distinctive landmark. Its 6 floor base houses an air traffic control centre and its orientation follows the orthogonal layout of the surrounding streets. The control tower at the top is rotated approx. 45° in order to afford a better view of the runways. The mid section is covered with a PTFE membrane which can be used for multimedia projections (information, advertising, artwork) and whose profiler warps continuously from the base to the control tower.

The students visited the membrane structure together with the architect Mr. Martin Zechner from Zechner & Zechner and Mr. Stefan Lenk from Montageservice, who was part of the execution company who erected the membrane.

The membrane structure has a total surface of 3850 m2 PTFE membrane and a height of 45m and is therefore the largest of its kind in Austria. The architects got their inspiration for the shape of the membrane structure from crinoline and created 12 horizontal steel rings which are connected by 8 spokes each to a central concrete shaft. The form is that of an incremental geometric morphing from base to turret The total weight of the steelwork is about 200 t, the membrane span between the adjacent ring sections is about 4 meters. In 2005 the tower got awarded the European Steel Design Award.


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