membrane façade


panels made from PVC-PES mesh fabric


panels made from PVC-PES fabric

crystal hall - membrane construction

In 2012 the final of the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. For seele, too, this major international event provided an excellent stage for playing a leading role in textile architecture once again. ALPINE Bau Deutschland AG was awarded the contract for building Baku Crystal Hall in August 2011, and it was around the same time that seele’s bid for the membrane construction was successful. This multifunctional indoor arena was designed by gmp Architekten in collaboration with NÜSSLI International. One particular challenge was the short time-frame available for the project: The entire design and construction of Crystal Hall had to be completed in just eight months. Such stadium structures usually take several years to complete.

  • It is the modular form of construction of the Crystal Hall that helped to realise this sport and concert venue in record time. With its membrane façade, modular arena and central roof section, the whole structure consists of three independent parts. The defining elements of the façade are the triangular, flat membrane panels made of reflective anthracite-coloured but silvery glistening PVC-PES mesh fabric combined with pebble-grey PVC-coated polyester fabric. A total of 180 diamond- and triangular-shaped membrane panels make up the 20,000sqm façade surface. The multitude of LED lights integrated into the membrane façade make this angular structure a notable landmark at night as well as by day. The design and the structural calculations for the outer building envelope plus the erection of the textile façade was all the responsibility of seele. The membranes were manufactured in seele’s own production facilities.

    The indoor arena was built on a small peninsula in the Caspian Sea, a location that put seele’s innovative strengths to the test. Around the Caspian Sea, wind speeds can reach an incredible 45m/s. That, combined with the flat façade surfaces and the acute angles of the panel geometry, leads to extremely high tangential forces along the membrane edges. Special aluminium clamping bars were therefore developed so that the membrane surfaces, up to 280sqm in area, can withstand such loads and at the same time satisfy the design quality demanded by the architects in terms of geometry and membrane details. The clamping bars also house the cables for the exterior illumination, which turns the „Crystal of Baku” into a true shining gem once the sun has set.

    Last slide image © Markus Bredt / gmp Architekten


Client State Committee for Azerbaijan Real Estate
General contractor ALPINE Bau Deutschland AG
Architect gmp Architekten, NÜSSLI International AG
Date of completion 2012
Scope of seele supply
  • Design, fabrication and installation of outer membrane façade of a total surface of 20,000sqm
  • 72 panels made of PVC-PES mesh fabric
  • 108 panels made of PVC-coated polyester fabric