Timeball tower construction; Timeball tower construction;

Timeball Tower, Durban

Wind engineering study for a striking structural steel tower

The construction of Timeball Tower had both historical and architectural impact on its site.

In the early 1900s, Durban Port had a Timeball Tower which played an important role in advising ships entering port. It was important to the design team to reference this historical importance in the modern structure.

The structure symbolises the original nature of the site as a public focal point. This is achieved through including an information kiosk, amphitheatre and ablution block and provides a link between the various icons within the development. The architect’s sculpted wire concept was realised with the use of structural steel.

The structural design offered challenges due to the slenderness of the structure.

Arup’s wind engineers carried out an analysis of effects of wind loading and strakes were introduced to the upper sections of the structure. The finished structure received a South African Institute of Steel Construction award for technical excellence, with the judges commenting that “this project displayed excellence in all aspects of technical issues”.