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Last edited 08 Dec 2020
Fernsehturm Berlin is a television tower in central Berlin, Germany. Since its completion in 1969, it has become a prominent and iconic landmark. At a height (including the antenna added in 1997) of 368 m (1,207 ft), it is the tallest structure in Germany and the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe.
The design of the tower demonstrates the influence of the Space Age and new technologies, with the cross-section resembling a space rocket, and the sphere being inspired by the Soviet Sputnik satellite.
The location of the tower caused controversy, centred in a historic medieval area of Berlin, which required significant demolition. A medieval church continues to stand next to the tower as a reminder of the old city that made way for the new construction.
 Design and construction
The original design of the slender, upward-thrusting tower stem was prepared by architect Hermann Henselmann, although it was built with the involvement of several East German architects and planners.
Construction began in 1965 using climbing formwork. The shaft of the tower tapers from 16 m diameter to 9 m, and is divided into 5 stages by mezzanine floors. These divisions are marked on the outside by portholes.
The first solution to the challenges this presented was a single-shell construction, with the sphere's supporting steel framework being prefabricated on the ground. Cranes lifted the segments up to the required height where they were then attached to the circular platform. This also formed the completion of the concrete shaft. The second solution was to suspend the sphere on supporting tie rods, giving the impression that it is floating.
The maximum movement under wind load at the top of the tower is around 60 cm, with an oscillation frequency at the restaurant level of between 7-10 seconds in particularly strong winds. The tower was fitted with a mass damper, a metal rod weighing 1.5 tons suspended by three cables, with four hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers to accommodate this movement.
The tower has undergone several modernisation works since it was completed and become operational in 1969. In 1993, the interior was renovated, with upgraded transmission equipment for TV stations being added. Two high-speed elevators (top speed 6 m/second) were installed, as well as one for services. General sanitation works were undertaken in 1995/96, and technical installations, HVAC and fire protection system renewed.
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