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Air traffic control towers, Frankfurt and Berlin

Replicable design concept providing maximum visibility

By using glazing to brace the facade construction of the control tower – designed by architects Ondra & Partners – controllers have the best possible view. Since no regulations existed for this innovative design, it required unique testing and approval procedures.

Maximum visibility

With a multidisciplinary team of facade planners and structural engineers, Arup's facade designers and structural engineers worked together to develop a façade concept that kept visible structural components to a minimum, ensuring controllers had maximum visibility.

Designed to take the strain

The complex structure comprises an elongated ground building for administration and technology, a 70m tower shaft and a flight station for the controllers – a 16-corner polygon on an elliptical floor plan in the pinnacle of the tower shaft. Two boxes, suspended from the tower shaft, accommodate server rooms, staff rooms and a crisis room.

The anticipated movement of the suspended structures, and the above-average strains this would produce, presented a significant challenge. In response, Arup developed bespoke façade elements with flexible connections.

Structural glazing improves safety by providing air traffic controllers with clear vision, with no obstacles in their way ” Portrait of Rudi Scheuermann Rudi Scheuermann Director and Arup Fellow


Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), the German air traffic control agency, has also appointed Arup to provide similar services on a control tower at Berlin’s new Brandenburg International Airport.

Both projects are part of a consistent, replicable design concept for control towers developed by architects Ondra & Partners and operated by DFS.

Arup's Rudi Scheuermann discusses the innovative use of structral glazing to provide air traffic controllers with uninterrupted views.
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