South of Berlin, in Brandenburg, in the immediate vicinity of Schönefeld Airport, a new branch of Hurricane Factory opened in 2017.
The building looks just like a factory, even though it's not a production facility. Hurricane Factory offers customers a special experience, a feeling of weightlessness. In the company’s vertical wind tunnel, customers can float and fly in a weightless atmosphere.
"The factory look supports the idea of the building and is aligned with our company name. The same idea was also used inside the building, where, for instance, the walls have been altered to look like concrete walls,” explains Jakub Weck, Hurricane Factory’s managing director.
Ruukki delivered its Ruukki Forma façade system for this five-storey building. The system included both sandwich panels and façade claddings for the walls.
New experiences for the adventure-minded
A typical Hurricane Factory customer is a first-timer who wants to try out and experience something new. Also experienced skydivers use the tunnel for training.
”One of our target groups is work teams from various companies. They can even book the whole place for themselves. In addition to a bodyflying experience, we can offer seminar rooms and associated catering services," says Jakub Weck.
The Hurricane Factory’s busiest time is during the winter months, when indoor activities are popular. The wind tunnel can take a total of 10 customers at a time for a 30-minute period. The entire Hurricane Factory facilities have a capacity for 200 customers.
Keeping balance in an air-flow
The new experience that customers seek takes place in a tube 15 metres high and 5.2 metres in diameter. The lower part of the tube is made of glass, which allows spectators to watch other people flying from a grandstand.
The upthrust required is generated by six turbines feeding air into the tube to create an air flow that is comparable to the free fall from an aircraft at a height of 4000 metres at a speed of 280 kilometres per hour.
First-timers are recommended to have two separate flights each lasting 1.5 minutes. Customers are given a briefing about the basic principles of bodyflying, including safety and communication signals, prior to flying. An instructor is always with the customer during flights.
Design project driven by functionalities
Berlin is the newest of Hurricane Factory’s three facilities, the two others are in Prague and Madrid. The Berlin facility was designed by first taking functionalities into consideration. The technology needed for the wind tunnel was the first consideration, followed by the other parts of the building.
In the case of the Hurricane Factory, the building’s appearance also plays an important role. When the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens, the Hurricane Factory building will be highly visible. Jakub Weck mentioned that they wanted to have a very prominent building that supports the company's corporate image:
“The building is unique and differs from the other buildings in the area. That has been our goal and it is also our strength. I am pleased both with the appearance of the building and with the materials selected, and highly satisfied with Ruukki’s deliveries,” says Jakub Weck
Ruukki Forma façade system: Sandwich panels and façade cladding for the walls. Cladding products: Cor-Ten S7 façade profiles, Liberta Elegant 500 rainscreen panels and T20 steel profiles.