A Kalzip 65/400 aluminum standing seam system has been chosen to clad the new $16.3 million Air Traffic Control Tower at Newcastle International Airport in the North of England. Designed by 3D Reid Architects, this very distinctive 150’-high vase-like structure boasts several cascading tiers of tapered Kalzip panels with widths varying between 12 and 18 inches.
Installed by Teamkal contractor Lakesmere Ltd, UK, for main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, UK, the Kalzip system provides a cost effective, compact solution that serves to complete the striking geometry of this futuristic building.
While the three tiers of Kalzip panels at the bottom of the tower were comparatively easy to complete, the most challenging part of the installation was the 50-ton, 2-story top module of the tower which had to be pre-assembled on site with the aid of a jig, and then lifted into place by a 500-ton mobile crane.
The design incorporated some extra bracing around the parapets to minimize movement on the pre-clad frame during the lifting process which allowed the circular viewing tower to be lifted over and around the top of the main shaft to very fine tolerances and fixed into pre-formed pocket connections. Between the two levels of Kalzip is a galvanized tubular hollow steel framework in-filled with a stainless steel mesh that forms the concave sides of the structure.
No stranger to the use of Kalzip and the capabilities of the standing seam system, 3D Reid’s project architect Carl de Witt said: “The Kalzip forms a major part of the external envelope and interfaces smoothly between the other materials and elements. We researched various wall cladding products but the geometry of the building directed us to use the tapered aluminum standing seam as it suited the conical shape of the base building and external walls of the upper element. It ensured that the design concept of having a sculptural building could be realized.”
Bryan Bauld, project surveyor for Lakesmere, added: “It was a difficult and extremely challenging project. Not just because it was an exposed location on the edge of an active airfield, but because the upper levels had to be built on the ground and then hoisted into the air.”
A key benefit to 3D Reid’s single sculptural design is that it contains all the associated components for the operation of the Air Traffic Control Tower, thus reducing the footprint of the building.
Approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of the .035”-thick aluminum panels were required for the project, which was completed in September 2007.