Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Structure Type: Façade
Project Size: 215,000 square feet
Membrane: PVC-PES mesh
Architect: GMP International Gmbh
Owner: Mayoralty of Baku
General Contractor: ALPINE Bau Deutschland AG
Completion Date: April 2012
In 2012 the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Baku – for PFEIFER Covertex it was an excellent stage for playing a leading role in textile architecture once again. ALPINE Bau Deutschland AG was awarded the contract for building Crystal Hall in August 2011, and it was around the same time that Covertex’s bid for the membrane construction was successful.
The modular form of construction of Crystal Hall helped to realize this sport and concert venue in record time. With its membrane façade, modular arena, and central roof section, the whole structure consist of three independent parts. The defining elements of the façade are the triangular, flat membrane panels made of reflective anthracite-colored but silvery glistening PVC-PES mesh fabric combined with pebble-grey PVC-coated polyester fabric. A total of 180 diamond- and triangular-shaped membrane panels make up the 215,000 square foot façade surface. The multitude of LED lights integrated into the membrane façade makes this angular structure a notable landmark at night as well as by day. The design and the structural calculations for the outer building envelope plus the erection of the textile façade is all the responsibility of covertex. The membranes were manufactured in Covertex’s own production facilities.
The indoor arena was built on a small peninsula in the Caspian Sea where wind speeds can reach an incredible 100 mph. That, combined with the flat façade surfaces and the acute angles of the panel geometry, leads to extremely high tangential forces along the membrane edges. Special aluminum clamping bars were developed so that the surfaces can withstand such loads and at the same time satisfy the design quality demanded by the architects for geometry and membrane details. The clamping bars also house the cables for the exterior illumination, turning the “Crystal of Baku” into a true shining gem once the sun has set.