The new control tower for Bilbao Airport is an individual element in the program to modernize the city’s airport complex. Due to the urgent need for improved air-traffic control, the construction of this tower was given priority over all other airport facilities, and the commission for its design was awarded through a separate, limited competition.Situated directly opposite the new terminal, with a commanding view of the third oblique runway, the control tower is clearly divided into three components.
The symmetrical ramped base, with its inclined frontal glazing, houses technical facilities in one wing and administrative offices in the other. The mast, on a teardrop plan, expands toward its top while rising to a height of 42 meters. The control deck (which also is a truncated and inverted cone) has a wrap-around observation gallery, which provides access to the tower’s mechanical and electronic systems.
Originally, Calatrava had wished to provide full 360° glazing for the air-traffic control level by using a single central pillar of concrete to carry the loads of the roof. The proposal for this central pillar was not approved, however, and a series of steel profiles now supports the roof around its periphery. The basic structure is concrete, covered in a vertically fluted, aluminium cladding hung on an intermediate structure. Vertical, glazed panels run the full height of the "trailing edge" of the teardrop shape to provide light to the stairwell, while the lift shaft is housed within the front radius.
1993 - 1996