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Twisted highrise architecture from Zaha Hadid

3 aug. 2016


3 aug. 2016
Milan, Italy
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Generali Tower, Milan, Italy

The 170 m high office tower in Milan elegantly winds its way upwards and bears the signature of Zaha Hadid. Through the interplay of perfectly coordinated formwork and scaffolding solutions on the basis of a well thought-out safety concept, the shell construction could be completed within just 17 months.

Il Dritto (The Straight One), Lo Storto (The Twisted One) and Il Curvo (The Curved One) – the names given to the three skyscrapers at Milan´s Piazza Tre Torri, the core of the ambitious CityLife urban development project. Lo Storto, The Twisted One, is the future administrative building of the Generali Insurance Group. The 44 floors of the 170 m high-rise office building gracefully wind their way upwards. It was designed by the recently deceased star architect, Zaha Hadid. Likewise part of the CityLife project, the Hadid Residences also feature her distinctive style and clear design language.

The concrete shell of the striking Generali Towers was completed in April 2016 – after a construction phase of only 17 months. With the help of project-specific PERI formwork operations, it was possible to finish ahead of the originally planned schedule by a full 3 months. This was because the formwork and scaffolding specialists at PERI Italy developed an execution solution with consistently safe and thereby fast operating sequences. In spite of the complicated building geometry, the standard storeys could be realized in continuous weekly cycles.

One climbing system as protection panel and climbing formwork

The PERI project solution was based in particular on the RCS Rail Climbing System. On the one hand, this was used as a climbing protection panel for the top floors under construction at any one time. In addition, the RCS system served as climbing formwork for the building´s core. Through the rail-guided climbing operations, the climbing units were securely connected to the building at all times which ensured the climbing procedure was always carried out quickly and safely even during windy conditions. By means of mobile climbing hydraulics, the units could be lifted to the next section each time without requiring a crane.

Climbing combination for the core

The floor slabs revolve around the centrally-positioned core of the high-rise building whose complicated ground plan geometry is composed of circular and angular external walls as well as contrasting slender internal walls. Furthermore, the external walls of the core taper in 15 cm increments from a massive 90 cm at the base to a much thinner 30 cm in the upper floors.

The PERI climbing formwork solution was based largely on the crane-independent working RCS Rail Climbing System, combined with a self-climbing ACS Platform Unit along with crane-climbed CB Climbing Platforms and BR Shaft Platforms. With the help of the ACS technology, the placing boom could also be guided upwards. The reinforced concrete walls were formed accordingly using TRIO Panel Formwork and VARIO Girder Wall Formwork, supplemented by project-specific special formwork elements.

Maximum safety and fast shuttering times

The RCS P Climbing Protection Panel secured the leading edges of the twistedly-arranged floors so that the walls, columns and slabs could be safely formed at all times. In addition, the increased feeling of safety – due to the gap-free enclosure – accelerated the construction progress ensuring that forming operations could continue throughout independent of wind and weather.

For realizing the 32 cm thick floor slabs, SKYDECK Panel Slab Formwork complete with the drophead system was used. In the process, fast shuttering times with short striking times were achieved. Problem-free adaptation to suit the slab geometry which changed from storey to storey as well as shuttering the columns was carried out by means of standard compensation elements.

PROKIT anti-fall protection usefully supplemented the PERI execution solution and consistently implemented the safety concept in all floors for all shell construction operations and finishing work. With side mesh barriers, posts and slab feet, flexible use without any additional planning effort for accommodating the complex building geometry also proved to be unproblematic.

Zaha Hadid

Iraqi-born architect, Zaha Hadid, died of a heart attack on 31st March 2016 aged 65. She was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize – the “Nobel Prize” for architects. This was in 2004. Her breakthrough into the world league of architecture took place in 1993 in Germany with the realization of the fire station for the design furniture manufacturer Vitra in Weil am Rhein. Her spectacular creations and elegant design qualities were unique and often transgressed the boundaries of the physically possible in the realization. Many of her projects in the past were successfully implemented with the help of PERI formwork and scaffolding solutions including the Aquatics Centre in London, MAXXI National Museum in Rome and the development project for the listed Stadtbahnbögen complex in Vienna.