Gas-tight fit

19 March 2018

To put the old gas holder in Wuppertal, Germany, to new use, the owners of the building decided to erect a four-storey building inside it

The Wuppertal gas holder is a formidable relic of the city’s industrial past, and a skyline defining landmark that is absolutely worth preserving. A new use was needed for it. Repurposing a gas holder of this type is not easy.

The outer shell is merely lightweight metal designed for the sole purpose of withstanding gas pressure. So, the owners decided to put up a four-storey building with 4,000 square meters of event, fitness, bar, and restaurant space inside the 67m-tall gas holder—with a clearance of just three metres between it and the outer shell.

That was far too little space for setting up the construction crane, which is why a Terex CTT 91 TS12 tower crane was transplanted straight into the building instead. And it will be staying there too.

Bringing this extraordinary project to life required an unorthodox approach. Because of the extremely limited space, the first phase of construction consisted of erecting a staircase tower with an elevator shaft right at the centre of the new building.

The staircase would function as a crane tower, on which a jib would be mounted. But a ready-made jib would not have worked, it had to be tailor-made to fit the building. Terex staff made a special purpose solution based on a CTT 91 TS12 tower crane—painting it black and grey, by the customer’s request, since it was to remain in the building.

An entrance gate had to be cut into the shell of the building, just big enough for a mobile crane to drive into the gas holder to assist with the setup of the Terex crane. Due to the space constraints, the only additional equipment to help with assembly was a forklift truck.

It took the three-person team just one day to install the crane head on in 25.8m-tall staircase tower – with just 15cm of space available between the end of the 18.45m jib and the gas holder’s outer shell.

The result meets all expectations. The permanently installed CTT 91 TS12 can lift loads of up to five tonnes. And after construction work is completed it will remain in the building and be used for maintenance and to set up exhibition events inside.