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Big 5: Ostseestaal shapes future steel

Ship-building specialist looks to architectural projects

The German Pavilion at the Big 5
The German Pavilion at the Big 5

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Ostseestaal is using its years of shipbuilding experience to help architects achieve new, organic forms. The German ship-building company was established in 1970, and specialises in the manufacture and supply of precise-fit building assemblies, made from cut-to-size, three dimensionally-formed steel plates.

“We noticed a couple of years ago that the architectural business might be quite interesting for us because everybody wants to develop new, organic forms. All of the leading architects, like Zaha Hadid and Anish Kapoor, for example, are trying to use new forms. So we decided to move into this market, and have already worked on a couple of big projects,” explained Allard Bokma, international sales manager, Ostseestaal.

“Our core is still ship building but we have diversified, which is important given the current state of the economy. We cut the steel and bend the steel – that is our core business,” added Volker Schlemminger, senior sales manager, Ostseestaal. And we are now adapting that technology to the architecture of buildings.”

The company offers a complete turnkey service for its architectural clients, which includes advisory services, costing, creating 3D drawings, engineering, production and then on-site assembly. It has already worked on iconic projects in this region, including the Yas Island Hotel Link Bridge and Arata Isozaki’s bridge in Doha, Qatar. At present, the company is working on a project in Taiwan.


“You’ll get a bridge that everyone is saying cannot be built and finally the architect will come to us,” said Schlemminger. “We work with steel, stainless steel and aluminium and we use it not only as a cladding system, but as a structural element as well. We like organic forms.”

Shipbuilding technology is not only more advanced, it is also more economical, according to Bokma. In addition, Ostseestaal has its own technology, in the form of Nupas Cadomatic, which it has been using to build ships for over 30 years. “It’s really high technology,” Bokma concluded.

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Construction Week - Issue 754
Nov 23, 2019