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Airport pioneers use load bearing glazing

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BARCELONA AIRPORT will use structural glazing in its new air traffic control tower as a load bearing element for what is believed to be the first time.

Consultant Dewhurst Mac arlane has been called in by principal consultant Spanish firm GOP to design the 4.4m high glass wall.

Client Barcelona Airport wants an unobstructed view of the airport from the control tower to improve safety and allow better monitoring of ground movements.

This means eliminating mullions and columns, said Dewhurst Macfarlane partner Tim Macfarlane.

The tower is octagonal in plan. Its observation level windows are raked, with each face measuring 6.75m long at floor level and 7.75m at the ceiling.

Three glass plates will make up each face, with only silicone sealant being used in joints and at corners.

'This kind of structure would conventionally be designed with mullions of 150mm-200mm deep by 100mm wide, ' said Macfarlane.

'Structural glass hasn't been used for this kind of application before.' Structural glass facades have become popular architectural features. 'But this is a little different, as it must carry the weight of the roof - 8kN/m 2', said Macfarlane.

The glazing must also take horizontal wind loading of 1.8kN/m

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