Boarding house – Membrane sculpture

As part of the redevelopment of the old harbour in Eckernförde, the architectural firm Rimpf designed and built a new apartment block on the “Hafenspitze” (Harbour Point). The city administration also wanted to erect a new landmark for Eckernförde in this prominent spot.

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The maritime atmosphere of the new “Hafenspitze” quarter – with views of the Baltic Sea, the yacht harbour and the beach – made a textile membrane sail an obvious choice for an eye-catching architectural landmark.

Because 3dtex became involved in the project at an early stage, it was possible to work together with the architects in developing the shape of the sail. The design is based on two mirror-symmetrical four-point sails that appear to take on changing forms as one approaches the harbour by water or on land. The shape of the sail was subject to many different criteria in terms of its visual effect from a distance and the views it enabled from the individual balconies of the apartment block.
Particular attention was given to the dynamic lines and design details that serve to accentuate the sail’s overall form and objective.
The fabric used was a PTFE-based fibreglass from Verseidag (type III), which as expected, faded within approx. 5 weeks from its original brown colour to a brilliant white. All steel elements were hot-dip galvanized and painted, which required the nearly 24-m-long supporting pole to be segmented. The joints have been left visible and are not cladded, which is why they also needed to be designed with aesthetic considerations in mind.

The construction was erected in two stages: the supporting pole was already erected in January 2014, but it was necessary to wait for warmer weather to install the membranes, in order to avoid damage caused by crinkles in cold weather. It took five days to add the membrane with additional re-tensioning procedures. A specially built tensioning tool enabled the 12-t tensioning force to be applied at the upper attachment point by means of two hydraulic cylinders. With this, the tensioning force could be precisely applied and controlled according to the specifications.

The building developer, the architect and as well the majority of the citizens of Eckernförde are fully satisfied with the result. With its expressive form, the membrane sail is not only representative for the new “Hafenspitze” (Harbour Point) area, but is also a new landmark for Eckernförde.

3dtex GmbH: design, detailed engineering, project management, fabrication and assembly

Architect: Architekturbüro Rimpf
Static: IB Zapf
Membrane Manufacture: Flontex Europa
Steel structure: Stahlbau Hartleb
Material: PTFE glass fibre from Verseidag

Completion: 2015, Germany – Eckernförde