Seele Covertex Membranes (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., Shanghai, China, won the Award of Excellence in the frame-supported structures category of IFAI’s 2014 International Achievement Awards for its work on the membrane construction of Baku Crystal Hall in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Designed by GMP Architekten, Hamburg, Germany, in collaboration with Hüttwilen, Switzerland-based NUSSLI International AG, to hold 25,000 spectators, the venue was built to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. The challenge? A short time frame; the entire design and construction of Crystal Hall had to be completed in just eight months.
The building’s design contributed to the success of meeting such a tight deadline, as the whole structure consists of three independent parts: a membrane facade, modular arena and central roof section. Triangular, flat, membrane panels made of black reflective PVC-PES mesh fabric combined with gray PVC-coated polyester fabric create its distinctive, angular look. A total of 180 diamond and triangular shaped membrane panels make up the 20,000-square-meter facade, integrated with LED lights, highlighting the arena’s uniqueness by night.
Special aluminum clamping bars were developed to allow the structure to withstand the strong wind loads from the nearby Caspian Sea, and at the same time satisfy the design quality requested by the architects for geometry and membrane details. The clamping bars also house the cables for the lighting. For further details on this project and all IAA winners, visit the IAA website.