Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

Die Welle

schneider + schumacher

Summary

This sculpture consists of 100 tons of aluminium sheet, each individually cut and bent. A special welding process was developed to join the components together. The installation was technically demanding and required specially developed manufacturing processes.

Services

Planning, production, delivery, assembly

Project manager

Marcel Glapski

Client

AXA Investment Managers Deutschland GmbH

Year

2016

Image: Wolfgang Günzel

100 tons of self-supporting aluminium sheet are brought to life

The Frankfurt office building "Welle" - also known as the horizontal high-rise - changed hands in 2015. The owner wanted to improve the quality of life in the building, but above all in the outdoor areas. After several pitches, Frankfurt architects schneider+schumacher came out on top with the idea of the "Welle" sculpture ensemble and designed the breathtaking concept of the same name - consisting of seven unique sculptures, the sight of which beguiles the senses. At the top of this ensemble is the majestic "Glorious Arch", which at a proud 18 meters high is not only the highest elevation, but also stands out as an incomparable artistic and urban design installation.

Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

The result of 19,000 hours of precise craftsmanship

The choice of material was crucial to the realization of this visionary project. In a materials competition, Arnold came out on top with the idea of building the wave from 100 tons of aluminium sheet: The concrete wave would have been uneconomical, and wood is too expensive to maintain. 
The result is a construction that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also technically outstanding.

Unlike usual, the sculpture was not simply designed as a steel structure clad in sheet metal. Instead, each individual sculpture of the wave is self-supporting via its own sheet metal skin. In order to dissipate the resulting shear forces, internal aluminum rods with a diameter of 50 millimeters were used to ensure the stability of the structure.

The individual parts of the project to be manufactured were planned completely parametrically. The data for production was generated from this planning methodology.

 

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»What does not yet exist will be developed by us.«

Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

A project of superlatives

The production of the seven individual sculptures was a true feat of engineering. From a single production batch of aluminum sheet, over 19,000 hours of labor were painstakingly invested by hand. Each sheet, which was 6 meters long and 1.5 meters wide, was individually cut and bent by hand, using a round rolling machine specially modified for the project to ensure maximum precision.

Arnold even developed a special welding process for the production of the shaft, which made it possible to weld solid seams in aluminum on one side with virtually no distortion. This innovation significantly reduced the need for subsequent straightening work and thus optimized the production process.

The logistics also posed a challenge: Special transports up to 38 meters long brought the huge, prefabricated components to the construction site, which could only be assembled with the help of hydraulic lifting frames and mobile indoor cranes. The installation of the sculpture was not only a technical event, but also a fascinating spectacle that attracted the attention of numerous spectators.

 

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Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

Image: schneider+schumacher / Ragunath Vasudevan

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