Remarkable support structure for CasaNovaTriangular shape requires inventiveness

Work on building the CasaNova – a name that is synonymous with seduction – residential tower between the New Meuse River and the Market Hall in Rotterdam is currently well underway. The meaning of that name in particular applies to the design and the striking geometry of this new building. Hendriks Precon developed a remarkable support structure for the construction of this residential tower.

CasaNova: a striking icon

CasaNova will be built adjacent to The Muse residential tower. The tower is being constructed under contract to Wilma Wonen; a real estate developer that commissioned Smit’s Bouwbedrijf to construct the tower. With 35 storeys and approximately 110 metres high, CasaNova is a beautiful addition to the Rotterdam skyline.

CasaNova consists of three parts: a five-storey substructure, the inclined four-storey base of the tower and the actual residential tower above this. Each residential storey has only three high-quality finished apartments. The substructure will have two commercial areas and a principal entrance. Storeys 2 to 4 inclusive consist of harbour appartments, individual storage areas and a three-storey parking garage.

Structural challenge

The new building has a triangular core for which Hendriks stalen bekistingtechniek [formwork engineering] developed a solution using steel wall formwork. Starting from the substructure, the new building will be dominated by slender, prefab concrete façade elements that are attached to the floors of each storey with rebar and DEMU fixing anchors.

The base of the tower presents a structural challenge: the building expands on all three sides over four storeys, as a result of which the slender prefab façade elements lean outwards and fan out. Patrick Woud of Smit’s Bouwbedrijf: “We first consulted Hendriks stalen bekistingtechniek for the project to develop a solution for the core. Due to the large quantities of rebar we wanted to pour the core in three parts without centring. Their steel formwork provided an excellent solution for this purpose. Next we had to deal with the challenge presented by the inclined base of the tower.”

Supporting the façade elements

The outward inclined concrete elements here span four storeys and yet have to be temporarily fixed or supported until the elements are structurally connected to the floors. “We quickly came to the conclusion that for this purpose we had to rely on a steel structure capable of absorbing the high loads exerted in two directions.

We decided on Hendriks precon for the specific knowledge required for the temporary support structure combined with the necessary mounting options. They further detailed and engineered the initial sketches produced by our drawing office into a triangular steel structure with a mounting surface that serves as support. The support structure, created using steel rafters, follows the façade’s incline,” says Patrick Woud. At the lower end, the façade elements are embedded halfway down into the floor and are kept in place along the support structure and attached to the floors. At the height of each floor the façade elements are interconnected using rebar protruding from prefab concrete elements that are later poured as part of the floor structure. DEMU fixing anchors are used to attach the façade elements to the floor. For safety, a Hendriks stalen bekistingtechniek walkway bracket scaffold will be used during the construction of the tower’s structure.

Patrick Woud: “The support structure is a magnificent piece of structural engineering. It is the result of close cooperation among the involved parties that has gone extremely well.”

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