two-layer ETFE-cushions

westendgate canopy - two-layer ETFE cushions

“Plaza Büro Center” in Frankfurt’s Westend district was built in the 1970s. The 159m high building, containing a hotel and offices, was for a short time Germany’s tallest skyscraper. Extensive refurbishment work, planned by the architectural practice Just Burgeff Architekten, began in 2008. The aim of the architectural and energy-efficient redesign of the façade and office floors is to ensure compliance with all the demands placed on a modern offices and hotel complex. Renamed “WestendGate”, the building now welcomes its users with a prestigious new canopy facing Hamburger Allee. This new “organic” tree structure grabs the attention of passers-by, even from farther afield. Five columns, each consisting of four steel circular hollow sections, support the canopy.

  • They rise vertically 2m to 3m out of the pavement before they branch out like a tree. These “branches” in turn support a totally free arrangement of steel channels with numerous high and low points. As the two columns in front of the entrance to the office wing are about 3m taller than those in front of the hotel lobby, this entrance gains an additional accent. On plan the canopy consists of 79 different polygons. Each of these panels required a different two-layer ETFE-foil cushion supplied by seele cover. The aluminium frames to the cushions are fixed to lugs that are welded into the channel structure. To prevent overheating below the canopy, the upper layer of ETFE has been printed with a pattern of dots (50% coverage). Rainwater on the canopy drains into the channels and from there to the columns. One “branch” per column serves as a downpipe.


Client DEGI Europa
Main contractor Heinrich Rohlfing GmbH
Architect Just Burgeff Architekten
Structural planning Wilhelm + Partner, Ingenieurbüro für Bauwesen
Date of completion 2011
Scope of work by seele

79 ETFE film cushions, 2-layered with printed outer layer