After 50 years airships are once again being developed in Germany. The firm CargoLifter AG will use them to lift and transport goods of up to 160t over long distances. For this it has built a hangar in which to produce and maintain the first two of this new generation of CL160 helium-filled airships or ‘blimps’ – so called because they will have no rigid skeleton. No internal structure means less self-weight to lift, so they will be able to carry far more than the approximately 60t of the largest pre-War Zeppelins.
The site is a former Soviet airfield in Brand, some 50km south of Berlin, and the whole project comprises the hangar itself, several other buildings for component production, plus a visitors’ centre. The masterplan was developed by architects SIAT Architektur + Technik, Munich, who co-ordinated the planning and were supported at an early stage by a design team, including Arup as structural engineer. Though it is an ‘industrial building’, the architecture of the CargoLifter hangar is of considerable importance, both functionally and visually, due to its size and impact.
M. M. Janner, MSc, EurIng Associate, Arup
R. Lutz, Dipl-Ing
Managing Director, Arup GmbH
P. Moerland, Ir, Dr-Ing
Senior Structural Engineer, Arup
T. Simmonds, BSc