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PROJECT REPORT: HOTELS, RESTAURANTS & BARS


reasons, but this also means less restrictions to views for the upper floors of guest rooms, including luxurious two-storey ‘villas’ at the top level. These surround the swimming pool, giving it an intimate, courtyard feel and a human scale. The exoskeleton continues over the top of the building to also form the inner facade here.


Exoskeleton


The design intent behind creating an exoskeleton was essentially to further emphasise the dynamic form using the structure itself, and in this way Morpheus echoes other ZHA projects. “It came from the idea of reinforcing the free-form shape of the building and fusing it with its own structure,” says Muscettola. Buro Happold, who undertook the structural engineering in close collaboration with ZHA, were also instrumental in the decision to go for an exoskeleton, having done an early study to demonstrate it would be an efficient method on Morpheus. Muscettola: “Of course it’s more challenging from a construction point of view, but in terms of efficiency of the structure it’s the best solution for this kind of volume articulation.”


The hotel also needed to be flexible to adapt to fast-changing guest expectations. Muscettola says that most of the hotels in Macau have a “very quick turnaround of internal programme”. As upgrades in technology occur and guests’ demands shift, hotel owners here tend to refit every four or five years.


She explains that the use of the exoskeleton as a structural solution was as much of a result of the client’s ongoing requirements as aesthetic desires. “Having most of the structure outside of the building would free up space and give a lot of flexibility for future-proofing the building,” she says.


Engineering


Muscettola asserts that as a practice, ZHA “don’t do engineering,” but “want to work with the tectonics of a design and have them working as one element, one challenge.” There was undeniably a major engineering challenge in achieving the unprecedented feat of a tall building with a free-form supporting exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is partly responsible for lateral stability by being connected to floor beams using stubs within nodes in the diagrid – these being in turn connected back to concrete cores. As a result, there are very few internal columns.


ADF NOVEMBER 2018


29


© Virgile Simon Bertrand


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