Air traffic control tower, Vienna, Austria

air traffic control tower

Architects at Zechner & Zechner have created a new landmark for Vienna with the design of this air traffic control tower: a 108m high ”lighthouse” that catches the eye owing to its unusual shape and innovative white membrane shell. The tower is particularly impressive at night, as the interior lighting and different colourful projections on the membrane shell make it visible from afar.

  • With a total surface area of 3,300sqm, it is Austria’s largest membrane structure.
    The air traffic control tower comprises a six-storey office cube at the base, a shaft spanned by a membrane and a lofty five-storey air traffic control centre on top. Security regulations stipulate that the 45m long shaft area remains unused. The membrane shell covers the steel skeleton of the shaft, which weighs approximately 200t. The asymmetrical fabric shell links the cube-shaped base of the office area with the control centre, which has rounded corners and is offset at a 45-degree angle to the base.

    The non-tear, translucent fibreglass fabric with PTFE coating is stretched across 12 rings, which are connected to the tower by both horizontal and diagonal braces. To prevent the shaft from rotating, two rods are used for each level of rings to enhance rigidity. This construction also increases the tower’s overall stability. The membrane’s biaxial tension prevents it from flapping in the wind. Computer simulations were used during the planning phase to calculate tension distribution.

Client Flughafen Wien AG / Austrocontrol GmbH, Wien (AT)
Architect Zechner & Zechner ZT GmbH
Date of completion 2005
Scope of seele supply

4.000sqm PTFE-glas 

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