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Historic THF tower at Berlin Tempelhof Airport opens stunning new 360° viewing terrace

Image Credit: Kristian Alveo

New rooftop platform with panoramic views of Berlin completes using sustainable Kebony decking

A key stage in the redevelopment of Berlin’s historic Tempelhof Airport has recently completed, with the opening of a 600m² rooftop walkway and 360° viewing platform on the 26m high airport tower, constructed with Kebony wood decking.

Opened to the public on Thursday 20th July, the new installation THF Tower marks a significant step in the regeneration of the former aviation centre which closed its hanger doors in 2008. The wood-panelled rooftop terrace creates a new exhibition and event space, offering visitors not only stunning views across the skyline of the German capital, but an expansive viewing platform to experience the regular programme of cultural events hosted at the airport, including trade fairs, concerts such as annual Tempelhof Sounds festival, and sports events including the 2023 Berlin Formula E-Prix.

The combination of the building’s famous historical character and modern construction requirements presented architects :mlzd and designers Karle & Rubmer with a unique challenge. When choosing the materials for the roof terrace, accessed via a suspended steel staircase that guides visitors up from the central terminal, both the technical and aesthetic characteristics of the building product were paramount to create a quality, long-lasting facility to support regular use.

Kebony Clear decking was selected to give the space a durable and visually sophisticated finish. Developed in Norway, Kebony wood provides a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwoods, helping to ease the global dependence on traditional construction materials, thereby reducing the continued environmental damage caused by deforestation. Through the production of enhanced dually modifiedTM timber, sourced from sustainable softwoods such as pine, Kebony offers architects a wood product with the same built characteristics of protected wood species such Ipe and Cumaru, without the same cost to the carbon footprint.

Kebony’s patented modification process enhances the dimensional stability of the wood cell walls, and, over time, its surface develops a silver-grey patina that adds depth and character. This unique combination of features renders Kebony an ideal solution for projects like the THF Tower terrace, that are constantly exposed to the elements, but still require the highest standards in design aesthetics, durability, and sustainability.

The successful implementation of the THF Tower project is a demonstration of the innovative ways in which historical, high-carbon emitting industrial sites, such as decommissioned airports, can be repurposed into new long-term social and sustainable contexts.

Pat Tanner, Architect for :mlzd, comments:

‘’The decision to use Kebony wood in the design of Tempelhof Tower was an obvious choice to create a space that is both functional and beautiful. The robust quality of the wood is ideal to withstand the high number of visitors we see here every day. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it is also an incredibly durable that can stand the test of time’’.

Nina Landbø, International Sales Manager for Kebony, adds:

‘’We are proud to see Kebony selected as part of the next chapter for the iconic Berlin Tempelhof. Transforming a former carbon emissions site into a stunning recreational facility is a fantastic concept. We congratulate all the partners involved in the delivery of this project and wish that visitors take leisure not only in the views, but the conscious, sustainably-inspired design of their surroundings.‘’

Project Details:

Tempelhof Airport, Head Building West, Tempelhofer Damm 45, 12101 Berlin

Design: 600 m² roof terrace at a height of 26m, ramp construction with slope in combination with steps

Decking: Terrace boards made of Kebony Clear

Substructure: Isostep system rails to accommodate wind load of wind load and fire protection components

Architects – :mlzd

Roof Technology – East Poburski

Engineering – Bartke & Partner GmbH

Kebony AS

Karle & Rubner