Feel the Tower

The Elbtower is now on display as a 1:200 scale model. Feel the tower – even before its completion in 2025.

Feel the tower: All those who want to experience, touch and feel the Elbtower no longer have to wait until it is completed in two years’ time. They admire Germany’s third-highest skyscraper on a small scale right now.

A 1:200 scale model of the Elbtower has been on display for a few weeks already in the SIGNA office in Hamburg’s Kaufmannshaus. Prospective tenants now have the chance to see the Elbtower in all its design glory. The model will also be shown at trade fairs.

The miniature Elbtower was made by werk5 model makers in Berlin and they have created a detailed masterpiece. werk5 has been around for almost three decades, and thousands of models have left its premises in Berlin in that time. “I particularly like the architecture and the slight rotation of the Elbtower around its central axis,” says Arnim Sommer, project manager at werk5. Four employees manufactured the various modules in one week and then assembled them into a tower that weighs around 130 kilograms. The floors and outer walls are made of thin acrylic panels, and walls of transparent perspex distribute light over the entire miniature building.

For werk5 managing director Karsten Kröger, the Elbtower copy is an important element in understanding the presence and spatial expanse of the building at its location: “The architectural model can now be used to design the future spaces and give people a real view of what it will be like.”

It was also a challenge to implement the architect’s very precise ideas in the model. For example, the terrace in the base level features architectural designs which create a great design dynamic. In the miniature version, the model builders had to create specially designed small slabs to make an accurate representation, which achieve a similarly dynamic effect.

The slats made of half-millimeter-thick polystyrene were also particularly complicated. On the real building, the slats are made of brightly coated aluminum profiles. They give the Elbtower an elegant and friendly look. In the model, 18,000 wafer-thin rods create the same effect. To achieve this, however, the model builders first had to write their own laser production program so that the slats could be cut accurately. They were then precisely inserted by hand into small pockets in the individual floor slabs so that they were aligned exactly like the slats in the large Elbtower.

The miniature building peaks at 1.23 meters on a base made of Corian material. This building material – made of acrylic and mineral components – is colored throughout and has the advantage that scratches are barely discernible. Of course, the little Elbtower is also illuminated. The model builders hand-soldered 1000 mini-LEDs in triplicate for this purpose and then mounted them. “We designed the lighting so that the model can shine very brightly, even, for example, on very strongly illuminated trade fair stands,” says Sommer. Different lighting levels are possible with a dimmer mechanism, and the floors can also be individually illuminated. In this way, the model can perfectly set the scene with its own style and charm in a range of environments.

But all that light is not without consequences… Although LEDs hardly emit any heat, the designers at werk5 had to install small electric fans in the model. This ensures that the temperature in the miniature Elbtower does not rise above 70 degrees Celsius. In the real Elbtower, of course, state-of-the-art air-conditioning technology makes sure that no such temperatures are ever reached.

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