Membrane cladding for Thyssenkrupp Test Tower Rottweil

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Membrane cladding for Thyssenkrupp Test Tower Rottweil

The Thyssenkrupp Test Tower in Rottweil, Germany, stands out like no other. With a height of 246 meters, the tower is one of the largest structures in Germany and the sleek tower stands tall in the quaint town of Rottweil.

Designed by JAHN Architects and Werner Sobek, the tower was built for Thyssenkrupp AG, one of the world’s largest steel producers, focusing on industrial engineering and steel production. The tower was built for testing and validation of next-generation elevator technologies, which utilizes the maglev technology to operate a cable-less elevator, changing the future design of buildings. The location of Rotweil was selected for its proximity to around 10,000 engineering students in the surrounding universities and technical colleges, the Technology Park in Neuhausen, the Research Centre in Pliezhausen and the good transport connections.

The project was realized by general contractor Züblin. Taiyo Europe Gmbh was contracted for the design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of the mesh membrane and steel structure. For the design, Taiyo Europe used the worldwide acting engineering company Maffeis Engineering from Italy. Construction of the tower began in October 2014, with Taiyo Europe joining the site on July 2016 to begin the membrane installation works. All works were completed on December 2017.

The structure was fitted with approximately 15,900 square meters of PTFE mesh material in white. The material is self-cleaning and highly durable, protecting the tower from solar radiation and wind. The mesh material reflects lights in different ways at different times of the day or season, creating an ever-changing fluid appearance. The unique vertical configuration required the team to design and engineer a temporary installation platform, with a total weight of 101 tons including the necessary tools and equipment for the installation of the mesh membrane panels, material, and manpower. The platform engineering and operation was a feat on its own, as it needed a special permission for operation from the German TUEV (Technical Inspection Association).

In addition to being a testing facility for elevator systems, the completed structure functions as an outdoor visitor’s platform, the highest of its kind in Germany at 232 meters. The tower also offers conference rooms and media rooms.

Construction time lapse video

Installation process