The Four Seasons Hotel

The Four Seasons Hotel

The Four Seasons Hotel is situated in Arieşeni-Vârtop in the heart of the Apuseni Mountains, one of the few areas in north-western Romania developed for skiing. Since its opening in 2005, the hotel that had been built in traditional Romanian style, had outgrown itself and was lacking a central entertainment space for guests. The architects were tasked to design a modern extension to integrate the new requirements into the existing building, without losing its heritage of traditional roofs found on the old houses scattered in the mountain area.

As the extension had to be built into the side of a cliff, the weight of the glazing material was a key consideration for the architects to ensure a structurally safe building. The exceptional strength to weight ratio of polycarbonate proved to be fundamental to achieve the demands. Combined with its high impact strength, UV protection, excellent light transmission and ability to be cold curved it was clear from the start that polycarbonate was the product of choice to realise the architect’s vision.

The design of the new extension was inspired by the Sydney Opera House. The roof needed to be steep to avoid accumulation of snow, as snowfall during winter can easily reach two meters. The hotel is located in a mountain area at 1200m altitude, where temperatures can drop in winter as low as -20°C. To ensure proper insulation during the most important ski season, a double glazed façade had to be installed.

The glass like transparency offered by polycarbonate also was key. The façade of the new extension had to enable guests to enjoy the breath-taking views in front of the hotel. With south facing windows a transparent façade would also makes the most of the natural sunlight, providing a lighter and brighter internal environment. In addition, the co-extruded protective layer would offer extra protection, preventing 98% of UV radiation from penetrating the sheets.
The extension exists of three arched shells, all comprising flat polycarbonate. To create a continuous design, the first two sections have polycarbonate in the top of the arches. However, it is the stunning façade of the front section that creates the real wow factor.

4mm and 6mm clear polycarbonate sheets were used to create 16 uniquely shaped triangles to form the impressive double glazed façade. The entire glazed front section was built positioned flat on the ground. This way templates could be made for the unique shaped polycarbonate triangles, using cold bending techniques on site, before it was finally positioned vertically.

The use of polycarbonate enabled the architects to create a strong and safe structure, it gave the building the insulation the climate requires, its clarity created a spectacular view, whilst providing a light and bright internal space. But most of all, the use of polycarbonate had fulfilled their vision of creating a stunning modern building that sits perfectly amid the more traditional buildings of the Romanian village.

  • Date: 06 Jul, 2016
  • Category: DESIGN
  • Client: Brett Martin