During the planning of the new conference centre for the EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) in Heidelberg there was the idea to design the building as a helix. But finally, the mentor of this ambitious and challenging construction project, Dr. Klaus Tschira, wanted the building to be realized as a double-helix: a demanding job for the engineers!
Glass railings as a double helix
The floor space of the conference centre is situated between an inner and outer steel ramp. Always two opposed levels are connected with each other by transversal glass bridges covering the complete diameter of the double helix. The glass bridges were completed with glass railings.
Inner helical ramps with glass railings
The impressive foyer of the building offers the view of the inner construction of the ramps and the glass railings on both sides. The ramps are the basis for the double helix which interconnects all levels.
Approval of glass railings
Glass railings are also referred to as Fall Protection Glazing in the context of legal building regulations and must comply with these codes (TRAV).
The balustrade filling of the glass railings is made of 20 mm thick laminated safety glass (VSG). The curved panes made of semi-tempered glass (TVG) and tempered safety glass (ESG) are glued with a clear PVB film, the edges are polished.
The filling brackets for the panes are welded into the upper opening of the steel ramps. These steel fishplates are inserted into the ramps construction with an intermediate layer of neoprene and casted with an inspected and approved sealing.
Individual approval for glass railings (ZiE)
For the individual approval for glass railings the application to the governmental department was necessary.
Fire protection requirements F30 for ramps
To comply with the fire protection requirements F30 the construction of the ramp had to be coated specifically by painting and rolling. According to the manufacturer the thickness of the layer has to match with the strength and thickness of the different steel sheets.
Steel bridges with glass railings
The span width of the glass bridges which interconnect the opposed leves is more than 30 metres and stretches accross the entire atrium.
According to the regulations of the individual approval for glass railings (fixed by the governmental department) the glass layer is made of three-layer laminated safety glass (VSG). The thickness must comply with the statical calcualtion.
Top surface with all-over anti-slip screen printing in matt white.
The glass layer is fixed with an intermediate layer of neoprene to the bearing structure of the glass bridges.