Airbus Strong Wall & Floor

Structural Designer

BuroHappold Engineering

Client Name

Airbus Operations Ltd


Filton, UK

Galliford Try


Tercon - Concrete contractor
Allerton Steel - Steel fabricator
Macalloy - ​Anchors supplier
Curtins - ​Temporary works designer
AHR - Delivery architect
Cemex - ​Concrete supplier Images: © BuroHappold


This structure is designed to high tolerance and specification in order to test and validate commercial wing designs.

The modular reaction wall is secured by a matrix of high capacity floor anchors positioned to near millimetre accuracy. The design is developed to resist 25 years of intensive life-cycle testing.

Judge's comment:

Imagine a floor nearly the area of three tennis courts, with precision-located fixing points on a 1m grid all over. Then imagine a steel wall the size of half a tennis court up-ended, that can be bolted down to the floor, and you begin to understand the scale of this project. The wall can be positioned in different places on the floor, and a test aircraft wing can be fixed to the wall, allowing it to be fatigue tested.

The engineers exceeded the client’s expectations by devising a modular wall design such that two tests could be carried out simultaneously, doubling capacity for the same capital outlay. They also managed to reduce steel tonnage by some 20% in the design.

Through a rewarding and collaborative process with the client and wider team, the engineers delivered a truly flexible structural solution for Airbus - designed and constructed to an accuracy far exceeding regular tolerances.

Subjected to an extreme loading regime over the next 25 years, the structure will play a key role in developing increasingly safe and sustainable wing designs into the future.

Contact us

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7235 4535
Email: [email protected]

Social media


© Copyright 2022 - The Institution of Structural Engineers, 47-58 Bastwick Street, London, EC1V 3PS, United Kingdom
Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales No. 233392 and in Scotland No. SC038263