Designed by DIALOG®, a Canadian based architectural firm, the control tower is situated at the outer edge of a 10,000 square meter office building, called the COT (Combined Office Tower.) The control tower facade features the metal “wrap,” which is covered with shingled undulating zinc, and carefully integrated with the windows to maximize daylight and offer shading when needed. Each section was sculpted to meet rigorous viewing requirements set forth by Nav Canada for air traffic controllers watching the tarmac, runways and skies.
Construction proceeded “air side” or parallel to active gates at the airport. Radius Track, the curved framing solutions provider, worked with Thermal Systems KWC Ltd, the building envelope contractor, and Gehry Technologies, parametric modeling experts, to design and build the asymmetrical metal ribbon.
The fabrication challenge was to find a way to make the metal curves smooth, while accommodating the undulating design of the wrap. When Gehry Technologies joined the project team, they decided to use site surveys instead of the original construction documents to define the exact location of each truss that would support the metal ribbon. Working with Radius Track, they developed a simple solution – a method for curving hat channel – which provided a smooth attachment surface for the finishing materials.
Prior to fabrication, Radius Track generated a 3D model of the metal wrap. In the virtual computer based environment, hat channel and truss locations were set in digital space. During fabrication, Radius Track used this information to mark the centerline of each truss attachment location on the hat channel. The accuracy was so high that installation crews used the hat channels to place the location of the trusses. Tyler Weisgerber, Commercial Division Manager at Thermal System commented that, “the materials used were significantly more efficient and allowed for a faster and less-complicated installation with a higher quality result.”
When the new tower opens at the beginning of 2013, it will stand as an icon - the first and last significant building seen by travelers visiting the Edmonton International Airport. The free flowing twists and turns of the building will be enjoyed from some areas of the terminal, and by those approaching the airport by car. An iconic installation at Canada’s fastest growing airport, the tower is a distinctive design statement that will be appreciated by the six million people who travel through each year. “Radius Track is proud to have been a part of such a distinctive design project,” stated Chuck Mears, FAIA, and Chief Design Officer of Radius Track.