Case Studies

TAG Farnborough Airport - Air Traffic Control Tower by MERO-SCHMIDLIN

TAG Farnborough Airport Control Tower still looking fantastic

Front Elevation are putting together some retrospective Case Studies  for our client, MERO-SCHMIDLIN. This is a project completed a few years ago but the images were taken in Aug 2013 so  these show how good it still looks.


Farnborough control tower 03 RS


The Air Traffic Control Tower at TAG Farnborough Airport was designed by 3D Reid Architects and features aluminium cladding by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC

(Photograph by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


Farnborough Airport has a long standing affiliation with the aviation industry firstly as a military installation as far back as 1904 for the army's military balloon establishment and later for construction of airplanes for the First World War. Many of the Hurricanes, Spitfires and Lancaster bombers had their trial flights from here and much later the facilities were instrumental in development work for laser guided bombs and our most iconic of aircraft, Concorde.


In later years military flying was transferred to larger sites around the UK and Farnborough became surplus to requirements with the site was leased out for private aviation. In 1999 the Luxembourg based company TAG (Techniques d'Avant-Garde) leased the site to compliment its existing businesses which include their own airline and partnering McLaren sports and racing cars. TAG Farnborough is now the UK's finest dedicated business airport.


Farnborough Control Tower 09 RS


The Control tower Features Mill Finish Aluminium shingles which follow the flow of the building by varying the size and overlap

(Photograph by Paul Scott Front Elevation


The brief from the client to Buro Happold, the planning consultant and 3D Reid Architects was to produce a series of buildings which would reflect both TAG's image as a first class business aviation provider and their corporate clients aspirations, whilst also sitting comfortably within the local landscape.


The tower itself epitomises these aspirations on many levels in its sleek design and choice of natural materials. The building was the first to be constructed of a 'family' of three to later include hangars and a terminal building all designed by 3D Reid Architects. As such the tower was a prototype which would heavily influence both the procurement and design of the projects to follow. The 34m high control tower has a visual control room at the top and at base level includes a two storey building to accommodate plant, equipment, conference areas and offices for air traffic control staff.


Farnborough Control Tower 10 RS


The Tower features a glazed lift shaft at the front with a matching glazed stairwell at the rear, all designed, supplied and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC the Camberley based Bespoke Envelope Contractors.


MERO-SCHMIDLIN were engaged at very early stages to assist in the design of the tower which consists of a series of various radii horizontal steel rings fitted to the slip-form concrete tower core. The design required a range of highly complex design calculations by MERO-SCHMIDLIN as part of their design, supply and installation package for the tower structure and cladding. The primary structure supported a further galvalume sub-frame covered with waterproofing membrane beneath the cladding . The 24 tonnes of steelwork is covered with individual mill finish aluminium shingles which are varying sizes and overlap to accommodate the complex geometry needed to form the futuristic design. The Toroidial shape is primarily formed by cloak cladding fixed to a frame of tubular steel with multiples axes. The mill finish aluminium is 100% recyclable and offers both a robust and cost effective cladding solution. Not only are they stunning to look at as a whole feature but as separate entities they can easily be replaced if damaged. The 0.7mm thick 'falzonal' shingles provide over 500 sq metres of cladding around the tower and base building.


Farnborough Control Tower 19 RS


The 'Cloaks' on either side of the main tower are formed by tubular steel frames clad with matching shingles

(Photograph by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


Inside the building MERO-SCHMIDLIN provided the two access routes with a glazed lift shaft at the front of the building with a glazed stairwell at the rear. These provide dual access to the control tower itself and the observation balcony. The glazing consists of point fixed laminated glass with a screen printed Frit Patterned series of bands. The tower includes approx 170 sq m of both toughened and laminated glass to lift shaft, stairwell and the rooflight within the base building. There is a further 9 sq m of 10mm toughened heat soaked tested float glass within the viewing balcony.


Farnborogh Control Tower 20 RS




The Aluminium Shingles reflect the light, were quick to install and proved very cost effective.

(Photography  by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


The project took over 12 months but proved again how MSUK can rise to the multi faceted challenge in creating a series of complicated Design, Manufacture, Supply & Install packages to create a stunning building that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and which raises the bar in building design. Being the first of three buildings the Control Tower set the benchmark in both design and project management coming in within build programme and budget.


Farnborough Control Tower 25 RS


The Control Tower is a stunning building with the fabric appearing smooth from a distance but the individual shingles become more apparent the closer you get to the building.

(Photography by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


Farnborough Control Tower 36 RS


MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC were engaged at very early stages by the client TAG and 3D Reid due to their specialist expertise in bespoke cladding both as  designers, manufacturers and installers.

(Photography by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC are based in Camberley in Surrey and specialise in Bespoke Envelope Design, Manufacture and Installation which also includes glazing, rainscreen and curtain walling


3D Reid Architects were responsible for the 'Family' of buildings of which this is just one


Front Elevation are Marketing & Business Development Consultants specialising in the construcion sector. Our clients include manufacturers, specialist contractors and architects.

We are based just north of London and offr a fully integrated service from Project Photography, Case Study Preparation, PR & Copy Writing, Graphic Design, Website building, hosting and management. 















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