Tower 185, Frankfurt

A new 50-storey office scheme in Frankfurt – now Germany’s fourth tallest building – incorporates 3,000 opening vents and two bespoke aluminium façade solutions developed by Wicona.

Tower 185 was completed on time and on budget and has since been awarded LEED gold certification – the internationally-recognised standard for sustainable construction.

Designed by architect Christoph Mäckler, the oval-shaped development is located in the heart of the city’s financial district. It provides 100,000sqm of office accommodation and comprises two halves with glass and aluminium façades that are joined by a central fully glazed tower.

A Bespoke Façade Solution for a 200m High Building

The 27,000sqm Wicona facade was fabricated and installed by FKN. Its design had to take account of the structural requirements of a building that is over 200m tall and provide high levels of thermal and acoustic performance to meet the scheme’s stringent sustainability criteria and occupier comfort. The building envelope had to be installed on a very constrained city centre site and to a fast track programme of just over a year which would include work through the harsh winter months.

Two specially-designed unitised façade solutions were developed by Wicona and FKN to meet the specification criteria and the site and programme challenges. The glazed panels were prefabricated off site in a controlled factory environment which was not subject to the weather and so ensured consistently high quality standards. Highly efficient logistics were then planned to accommodate delivery and installation on site without the need for material storage.

Around 50 per cent of the high-rise façade is glass and the glazed tower is oriented to the north, reducing energy for heating and cooling. Full height glazed panels maintain a high level of natural light inside the building and allow eight corner offices and more than 50 desks on each floor to be positioned at a window.

Robotic Installation

A significant innovation for the façade was its method of installation. An assembly robot was developed for the project which moved each unitised panel through its structural opening to the exterior of the building, turned it to the correct position and then installed it. This allowed up to 20 façade panels, each measuring around 7sqm and weighing half a tonne, to be installed every day despite difficult wind and weather conditions.

The Wicona façade solutions for this project exceeded the thermal performance specification for the project, achieving a Ucw value of 1.3W/m2K. The acoustic performance requirements for airborne sound were also exceeded in both the glazed rotunda (37 dB) and the two aluminium and glass façades (38 dB).

A Sustainable Office Scheme

Sustainability features of the tower include:

  • 2.3 million litres of rainwater will be collected each year and used for toilet flushing
  • There are charging stations for electric vehicles in the basement car park
  • More than 25 per cent of the site and the flat roof of the building at the base are planted
  • The building was constructed using materials with no negative impact on the environment and there was emphasis on using regional suppliers to reduce transport and carbon emissions
  • Over 90 per cent of construction waste was recycled.

The Project Team

  • Developer: CA Immo AG
  • Architect: Professor Christoph Mäckler
  • Project manager: OmniCon
  • Main contractor: Vivico Real Estate
  • Structural engineers: A&F Architektur & Fassadenplanung
  • Façade fabrication/installation: FKN Fassaden GmbH
  • Unitised façade system: Wicona

The Advantages of Unitised Curtain Walling

  • Complete flexibility in design and aesthetics – unitised panels can accommodate any combination of profiles, external feature caps and glazing, and can carry stone cladding; metal, composite or polycarbonate panels; windows, doors and fixed light glazing; solar shading and photovoltaics
  • Time on site is reduced by up to 70 per cent for earlier fitting out and completion
  • High quality and performance because the façade panels are prefabricated off site
  • Reduced reliance on scaffolding and improved site safety
  • A highly efficient solution for sites with restricted access
  • Elimination of glass handling and storage of cladding materials on site, reducing material damage and loss – a major advantage for city centre projects and constrained sites
  • Accurate installation and precise interfaces
  • Panel sizes spanning up to 4m x 4m can easily be accommodated
  • The units can be fixed to steel or concrete frames and installed using a crane or monorail system
  • There is no limit on building movement.

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