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Products and solutions, 2005-01-17, 01:00 AM

The city, the sky and the sea: NIROSTA® for Barcelona`s new landmark

The city`s fathers describe it as Barcelona`s most emblematic building, the English daily The Guardian called it the Barcelona Guggenheim: the Edificio Forum, designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron from Basle is an architectural masterpiece which has attracted attention far beyond the hometown of Antonio Gaudí. The building is also testament to the firm place occupied by stainless steel in high-class modern architecture. ThyssenKrupp Nirosta GmbH will be showing how the material was used in the Edificio Forum at Bau 2005, hall B3, booth 304.

The Edificio Forum lies at the sea end of the Avenida Diagonal, one of the three main avenues in the Catalan metropolis. It is the dominating feature of a newly created 16-hectare esplanade, the Forum Plaza, which played host to the Universal Forum of Cultures and more than 3 million visitors from May 9 to September 26, 2004. Opened in May 2004, the Edificio Forum is emblematic in both design and color.

The 26-meter tall triangular building with a side length of 160 meters echoes the geometry of the coastline and the Avenida Diagonal. The base of the triangle faces the sea, while its tip points back into the city. The link with the sea is underlined by the color of the upper level of the Edificio Forum, its walls consisting of dark blue concrete. This level houses a 7,000-square meter exhibition area and forms a roof above a public outdoor area containing all entrances to the Edificio Forum. A foyer and a link to a 3,200-seat auditorium are housed below the ground.

Stainless steel plays a key role in the design language of the Edificio Forum: around 28,000 individual stainless steel panels, approximately 10,000 square meters, were used in the building. The panels, like the building itself, are triangular, with a side length of roughly 1.10 meters. They are made from bright annealed polished material and each one is individually embossed. Like the pieces of a puzzle, the stainless steel triangles come together to form a pattern. The largest amount of stainless steel was used to clad the roofed outdoor area, i.e. the underside of the dark blue building. Here, the stainless steel triangles form a pattern of irregularly shaped bright or embossed surfaces resembling water surface. The blue of the sea is echoed by the colored three-dimensional panels used inside the auditorium.

Effects like these can only be achieved with a first-class material which is processed with the utmost precision. The stainless steel for the Edificio Forum was supplied by ThyssenKrupp Nirosta GmbH of Krefeld. More than 140 metric tons of NIROSTA® 4404, rolled to a thickness of only 0.8 millimeters, was supplied by the company`s Dillenburg plant and its subsidiary smb Chromstahl of Langenhagen near Hanover. NIROSTA® 4404 is a stainless steel alloyed with chromium, nickel and molybdenum which can withstand even corrosive marine atmospheres. As an austenitic stainless steel it is also readily formable and easy to weld.

Extremely thin, almost perfectly flat strip with uniform surfaces is a specialty of the Dillenburg cold rolling mill. Among other equipment, the mill uses a special stretcher leveler which flattens stainless steel strip without impairing its surface. Because the strip is flattened by stretching and not by roll pressure, the material is also free of residual stresses, making it easier to process than conventionally straightened cold rolled strip. Stretcher-leveled cold rolled strip from Dillenburg is ideal for facades and other large surfaces in interior and exterior architecture.

However, the quality demands stipulated by the architects Herzog & de Meuron were even higher than those achievable in Dillenburg. Meeting the supreme surface requirements for the Edificio Forum was therefore a job for smbChromstahl GmbH. Since mid-2001, the stainless steel service centre has been operating a high-precision polishing machine which provided the shine on the starting material supplied from Dillenburg. smbChromstahl GmbH in Lower Saxony is one of the leading companies in its field: its products include smbPolistar®, a nondirectional mirror finish for stainless steel which smbChromstahl is the only company in Germany capable of producing.

From Langenhagen, the material went to Inox-Color GmbH & Co. KG in Walldürn, whose jobs included embossing and coloring the sheets. The stainless steel triangles were finally assembled by Lummel GmbH & Co. KG, Karlstadt, the company which had already assembled the facade of the Neuer Zollhof in Düsseldorf. Designed by Frank O. Gehry, the Neuer Zollhof is a further architectural highlight featuring stainless steels from ThyssenKrupp Nirosta.


ThyssenKrupp Steel AG
Dietmar Stamm
Phone: +49 203 / 52 - 2 62 67
Fax: +49 203 / 52 - 2 57 07

Bernd Overmaat
Phone: +49 203 / 52 - 4 51 85
Fax: +49 203 / 52 - 2 57 07

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