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NZ's tallest airport control tower opens

Published: 8:10AM Thursday September 10, 2009 Source: ONE News/Newstalk ZB

New Zealand's newest control tower has been officially opened in Christchurch.

The $6 million project is the first to be completed as part of a new airport expansion set to be ready for the thousands expected for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

The new control tower, officially opened by the Prime Minister on Thursday evening, comes into use next Tuesday.

At 13 stories high, it has become the tallest air traffic control tower in the country.

It's shaped like an icecream cone with a base of around 64 square metres, tapering to a 12 metre control cab at the top.

The tower was designed by Napier based Paris Magdalinos Architects and project leader Chris Ainsworth says it was challenging working within specific technical boundaries.

Ainsworth says they had to ensure no metallic objects were used near the antenna dishes so glass and polycarbonates were used for anything near the equipment, including the screws and bolts.

"Everything's got to be planned right down to the last millimetre, so it's a tricky piece of architecture," says Airways Chief Executive Ashley Smout.

"I think it's a great building and it's going to become an iconic part of the Christchurch landscape."

The building is based on the Chalice sculpture in Cathedral Square.

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