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Complex crane operation in the heart of Vienna – three WOLFF cranes build a new department store on the “Mahü”

The Mariahilfer Straße, affectionately named “Mahü” by locals, is Vienna’s most popular shopping boulevard. It will soon see the opening of yet another shopping destination. Built on the grounds of the former Leiner furniture store, the “Lamarr” – named after the Austrian film diva Hedy Lamarr – will be a modern yet traditional-style department store including a hotel and restaurants. The highlight of the building ensemble will be a publicly accessible green roof garden. Austrian contractor Habau Hochund Tiefbaugesellschaft m.b.H. purchased a WOLFF 8033.16 Cross for the project. It is being utilized alongside two further WOLFF cranes to construct the building shell which is scheduled for completing by the end of the year. The site’s location in Vienna’s heavily frequented downtown area called for a unique crane solution. 

Wolffkran planned the crane concept so that only the WOLFF 8033.16 was erected with a mobile crane. This crane was then used to erect the WOLFF 7532.16 Cross, which in turn was used to erect the flattop WOLFF 6023.8 Clear. Thanks to this, the use of a mobile crane could be reduced to a minimum on the busy shopping street. “For the assembly of the roughly 14-tonne jib of the WOLFF 7532.16, our team had to calculate an overload hoist for the WOLFF 8033.16 since the crane was statically reaching its limits at this point,” reports Zeljko Tenjovic, Managing Director of Wolffkran Austria GmbH.

In an inner-city setting, finding space for a mobile crane is often chal-lenging. The WOLFF cranes on the “Lamarr” project erected each other and will also dismantle each other again.

Likewise, the Habau team around Kurt Mörth, Site Manager for large-scale construction projects, faces static and physical space constraints. “There is a high density of buildings all around. Neighboring buildings may not be slewed over at all, and the areas fre-quented by pedestrians may not be slewed over with load,” says Mörth. “Furthermore, pipelines installed in the surrounding area and the existing underground parking garage limited the possible loca-tions for the crane.” 

Working in close coordination with Wolffkran, the decision was made to position the WOLFF 8033.16 on the edge of the construction field facing the Mariahilfer Straße and the two smaller WOLFF cranes on the foundation anchors inside of the approx. 6.500 m2 construction site. The cranes were installed at the beginning of 2022 and utilized for transporting concrete, formwork, and reinforcement for the in-situ concrete shell.

Saving the most difficult for last 

Yet the greatest challenge awaits the Wolffkran team in the coming fall when the last of the three cranes on site is scheduled for disman-tling. With the WOLFF 7532.16 and the WOLFF 6023.8 standing in the middle of the building they are constructing, they cannot be dismantled using a mobile crane. Therefore, the WOLFF 7532.16 will first dismantle the WOLFF 6023.8, and afterwards, it will be dismantled by the 8033.16 standing some 60 meters away. Consequently, the 13-tonne heavy counter jib of the 7532.16 will have to be split into two parts. “To handle this, we need to release the bracings of the counter jib at the tower top and support the remaining jib section with special supports towards the crane tower before this component can then also be taken down,” says Zeljko Tenjovic, explaining the extraordinary endeavor. 

“A competent solution for every challenge”

Positioned inside the new building, the WOLFF 7532.16 and the WOLFF 6023.8 cannot be dismantled with a mobile crane. To dismantle the 7532.16 using the WOLFF 8033.16 standing some 60 meters away, its counter jib must be split into two parts while still on the crane, requi-ring an intricate support solution.

“Apart from the reliability of the crane, one reason why we have been collaborating with Wolffkran for many years is the Wolffkran team’s long-standing experience. They find a competent and pragmatic so-lution for any challenge – big and small,” says Kurt Mörth. “When a hoist was damaged during a rope replacement, the Wolffkran team procured the most readily available spare part – from England.” 

Habau and Wolffkran are collaborating on several projects, including the Harbor Portal in Linz and the Vienna Twenty Two residential quarter in Vienna. They also worked together on the Bruckner Tower in Linz. The Lamarr project is anticipated to be finished by 2024. 

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