Membrane We were looking for a seamless shell to fold around the functional volumes of the buildings. After researching and detailing a number of alternatives- titanium zinc sheeting, Corian and similar solid surfacing, sprayed polyurethane damp-proof membranes, and waterproof concrete-resin based finishes- we finally opted for pultruded fibreglass panels.
view of the west facade (from the access road) Pultrusion is a manufacturing process combining extrusion and pulling fibreglass through a die that can provide panels up to 1400mm wide and almost infinite lengths- we needed lengths of up to 25 meters.
view from airport side (east) Aside from the lengths of the panels, the material has a series of qualities highly suitable for building: it is light weight, elastic, very stable in extreme temperatures (-20°C to +50°C), fireproof and waterproof.
The almost flat roof, is treated as a façade to be seen from the airport, with openings onto terraces, light-wells or interior courts.
bays with cladding membrane The shell is curved around a subframe of pultruded structural profiles and steel arches, wrapping the entire length of each bay, or module of the hotel in a smooth, continuous skin. The length of the hotel comprises seven bays separated by courtyards, with the curved façades facing the airport, and the rooms looking out on the courtyards. The plant extracts and ventilation “breath” through vents twisted out of the roof membrane.
Ground Floor Lobby (-3,36m) main reception seating area The ground floor lobby main space is defined by a giant trellis suspended ceiling.
A back-drop of bamboo canes behind a translucent film on both sides provide back-lighting to the Sheraton Link and sitting areas.
crew desk The dark reflective floor in Venetian terrazzo reflecting the ceiling and light walls is plied over the wood volume of the reception desk. Another example of surfaces, be they interior or exterior, folded to define a space.
reception lobby- Sheraton Link
first floor lobby (+6,25m) The space connects all three levels of the hotel
three storey stairwell The escalator block down to the ground floor entrance and the false ceiling originating at the top floor level and serves as the conference centre reception.
First Floor Lobby Lounge is situated on the upper level of the hotel with a spectacular view of Monte Rosa. The warm tones of wood and gold, purple and violet of the furnishing contrast of white and reflective surfaces of the exterior structure.
assembling of pultruded strips over subframe Reduced costs and construction times coupled with the inherent qualities and finish of pultruded fibreglass have proved to be decisive in achieving the desired result in this project. This material is more often used for industrial products. An extensive experience of precision detailing to tight tolerances has been accumulated over the years which came in very useful in the detail design of the membrane.
view from the airport link bridge and courtyard view
west facade detail The folded shell alternates with the glass transparency of the enclosed volumes in which the reflective curtains mirror the external lighting conditions to produce a building that constantly changes aspect.
The western face of the hotel is left open to emphasis the horizontality of the volume with shallow water pools set into the lower level at the ends.
view of the north wing
facade detail Though normally considered an item of interior design, the black-out curtains were seen as an integral part of the façade from an early stage. The regularity on the mullion and transom grid is syncopated by the irregularity of the curtains seen through the extra-clear glass.