Christian von Eickstedt,
construction site managing director

A tower of the highest order

At 176 metres tall, the new Estrel Tower will rest on a very firm foundation: a 3.6-metre-thick concrete slab supported by 52 concrete piles – each 1.8 metres in diameter – driven 20 metres into the ground. We spoke with the site’s managing director Christian von Eickstedt from IKR about the challenges of the project.

Implenia, a civil engineering firm that specialises in underground construction, is set to finish the excavation pit for the Tower between mid-August and early September 2021. According to von Eickstedt, the concrete piles are next on the agenda, with work on the Tower’s foundation projected to continue until late October 2021.

The building process will require what’s known as combined piled raft foundation (CPRF). Due to the site’s ground conditions, 52 concrete piles, each 1.8 metres in diameter, must first be driven 20 metres into the ground. A 3.6-metre-thick concrete slab, poured onto these piles, will bear the weight of the Estrel Tower.

Around 25 construction and contracting services have been recruited to help build the Tower. In the initial phases, these include the engineering companies responsible for the building’s foundation and structural skeleton, while interior specialists have been contracted to take care of drywall construction, laying floor screed, flooring, painting and tiling. The final stages will encompass indoor component systems services and post-construction clean-up crews. Von Eickstedt plans to erect a small “container village” on site to accommodate some of the contracted workers.

In addition to quality control and keeping things on schedule, von Eickstedt sees cost control as key. The project manager laments the sharp rise in construction costs over the past year, which has affected the cost of building materials in particular. Delivery bottlenecks also pose a challenge. Von Eickstedt says his goal as project manager is to secure strategically opportune construction contracts “in order to harness synergies and cost advantages”. The 50-year-old Berliner believes that successful project management depends on “drawing on the technical expertise of those involved in planning and construction, and the know-how of colleagues with a wealth of experience in large-scale construction projects”.

The civil engineering company IKR Ingenieurbüro für Bauwesen Kuschel also oversaw project management of the Estrel Hotel construction in the early 1990s. Berlin native Christian von Eickstedt, 50, has overseen the new project since 2019.