Friday 05.02.2021

65 Years Stuttgart TV Tower

On February 5, the Stuttgart TV tower will be 65 years old. The 216.6 m high tower was opened on February 5, 1956. The idea came from our company founder Fritz Leonhardt:

"When my children and I had whooping cough (around 1951), I was concerned for the first time with the question of how high we engineers can build towers today. Why? Doctors told me that whooping cough heals fastest in high-altitude air - so why not build high-altitude air stations on towers? I quickly found that 1000 m high towers made of reinforced concrete would not pose any great technical difficulties. But there are other limits than what is technically feasible! ...
When Süddeutscher Rundfunk had to build a television tower in Stuttgart at the beginning of 1953, they initially planned a steel lattice tower. ... It was to be about 210 m high in order to "illuminate" the surrounding valleys. Due to this height, the lattice tower had to be conspicuous everywhere in the city and would not have been an ornament for the beautiful "city between forest and vines". I therefore sought out SDR and proposed a slender concrete tower that would have not only an antenna support at the top, but also a viewing platform, a restaurant, and an operating floor where the transmitters could be placed at the top to reduce energy losses between the transmitter and the antenna." The idea met with the approval of SDR ..."

Translated with (free version)

Fritz Leonhardt: „Baumeister in einer umwälzenden Zeit“, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1984, p. 193ff

The Stuttgart TV tower was the first of its kind. It was the first broadcasting tower whose antenna was erected on a closed reinforced concrete tower and at the same time equipped with a viewing platform and a restaurant, and it received many innovations, especially in the foundation, which was designed as a braced cone shell with a prestressed ring foundation.The idea of this tower triggered the construction of a series of concrete towers around the world. In 2009, the TV Tower was awarded the title of "Historic Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany" by the Federal Chamber of Engineers.In 2013, new fire protection guidelines had almost led to the TV tower's demise as a viewing tower. However, the tower was upgraded in terms of fire protection so that visitors can continue to enjoy the view over the city of Stuttgart from a height of 150 meters.

The Stuttgart TV Tower is to be nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Client: Süddeutscher Rundfunk

Design: Fritz Leonhardt / Professor Erwin Heinle

Photo: Bastian Kratzke