Airways New Zealand’s objectives:
What we did:
We built the 45 metre high, $6 million Christchurch airport control tower in an extremely tight timeframe. Situated in a constantly busy and restrictive airport environment, the new control tower was procured under a design and build tender based on a performance specification.
Airways New Zealand wanted “an iconic building form” and the tower had to withstand the impacts of a once in 500-year earthquake, remaining fully functional.
The design is based around a steel frame core with curved precast concrete cladding panels that lean out at 4.6 degrees. No two panel faces were perpendicular to each other and yet all horizontal meeting surfaces had to be level.
The foundations required over 600 tonnes of concrete and reinforcement, which took 5 hours to pour and required 38 concrete deliveries to a site located in the middle of a fully operational international airport.
The tight construction programme meant we had to complete one floor level each week during the erection of the structure. Our construction team guided the design team to develop details that were buildable, i.e. that were functional and practical without detracting from the aesthetics of the tower.
Our team’s innovative thinking eliminated the need for external scaffolding during construction. The cladding panels were designed to be fixed from the inside with horizontal panel joints located at 1100mm above floor plate - saving not only life and limb, but time and cost as well. The majority of the structural elements were assembled on the ground, again providing safety advantages and increasing efficiency.
The cone-shaped concrete tower helps control up to 800 aircraft movements every day. It is the highest control tower in New Zealand and has been designed to afford the best possible view of the airfield and surrounding airspace.
It was officially opened by the Prime Minister in September 2009.