Case Studies Skyway Mont Blanc

Skyway Mont Blanc

Client: Funivie Monte Bianco AG, Courmayeur (IT)
Architect: STUDIO PROGETTI Architect Carlo Cillara Rossi, Genua (IT)
General contractor: Doppelmayr Italia GmbH, Lana
Project completion: 2015
Products: FalZinc®, foldable Aluminium with a pre-weathered zinc surface

The challenge

Buildings constructed in the alpine highlands must be able to withstand the extremes and changeable nature of the weather conditions that are typical in such locations. The design brief needed to meet demanding design criteria and technical requirements in order to be a success, therefore as a result, experienced engineering firm, Holzner & Bertagnolli Engineering GmbH from Lana, was awarded the contract for both the structural and steel construction design of all three stations, including the cable car supports.

Some of the biggest challenges faced by the team were the combination of ensuring accurate yet cost-effective calculations for the concrete and steel components in some of the toughest conditions and highest altitudes. Furthermore, the team had to ensure that the structures were fully optimised to meet the technical demands of the cantilevers and the cable car which, even with the combined site logistics and organisation of the various professions, required consistent, effective interaction between the engineers and the project architect.

“We wanted to offer people a new way of conquering the mountain. Now, you can enjoy the landscape from an enclosed space, and everyone from old to young, can travel up to 3,500 metres in comfort. From the top, you can enjoy a unique perspective, thanks to the alpine architecture, which is aligned to the best vantage point on the mountain. You can experience powerful emotions and feel connected to the mountain there. That feeling stays with you, even when you are back home.“ 

After extensive testing of several alternative materials the architect selected FalZinc® for both the roof and façade to help bring this design to life. FalZinc® foldable aluminium was a perfect fit for the planning and design concept as it was possible to successfully combine the understated elegance and appearance of pre-weathered zinc with all the inherent benefits of aluminium.

The solution

By using Tata Steel‘s patented PEGAL process, a zinc surface is applied to a core of seawaterresistant aluminium alloy (EN AW-3105) to DIN EN 573-3 standards, and then weathered. The excellent formability of the material thereby complies with all the requirements of DIN EN 507 „Roofing products made from sheet metal“ with specifications for fully supported roofing products from sheet aluminium. FalZinc® also has the highest resistance to corrosion, already demonstrated on many occasions through testing to DIN 50017 KFW and HCT-Test standards.

Even under the toughest conditions at such alpine altitude, FalZinc® is unaffected by very low temperatures and can still be easily utilised and handled allowing precise handling and fixing whilst maintaining their environmental and sustainability credentials. On a design level, the standards for the cladding of the façade are, naturally, higher than those for roofing. For design reasons, the architects decided to do something different for the top station and adopted the same structural design for both the façades and the roof.

Due to local requirements and the selected shape, the supporting structure here consists of a reinforced concrete substructure. Except where of a steel and glass construction, the façades and roof are covered all the way round with insulation. A Kalzip vapour control barrier was glued onto this. Finally, the visible exterior was finished in angled standing seam roofing, using 0.7 mm thick FalZinc® aluminium sheets.

The sheets were prepared from special coil widths of between 500 and 600 mm. This resulted in sheet widths of between 430 to 530 mm. The adhesives were fixed by screwing into metal rails embedded into the wooden substructure. Finally, snow and ice guards were fixed on to the folds.

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