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30 PROJECT REPORT: HOTELS, RESTAURANTS & BARS


© Virgile Simon Bertrand


© Virgile Simon Bertrand


The exoskeleton is divided into three GEOMETRY CHALLENGE


The project team needed to be highly motivated to complete construction and fit-out in under three years © Virgile Simon Bertrand


parts, firstly relatively standard flat wall sections, then curved sections at the corners, then finally the fully free-form sections following the organic shapes of the voids. In turn there are three types of glazing system – double-glazed unitised on the flat areas (“more than 60 per cent of the project is straightforward off-the-shelf floor to floor systems” says Muscettola), curved double- glazed at corners, and single-glazed in free-form areas. Here, to ensure structural integrity, the systems are formed as composites of triangular glazing panels – secondary steel ‘macroframes’ attached to the exoskeleton via stubs.


Full aluminium sheet cladding was chosen (in off-white) for the exoskeleton instead of exposed steelwork, with the latter presenting issues in terms of steel connections and nodes, aesthetics, and requirements for fire and corrosion protection. This more costly option also however provided the pragmatic solution to visually align the exoskeleton with the glazing behind in free-form areas – essentially it would match the curvature of the glazing so the steel didn’t have to, and avoided the need for double-curved sections. Muscettola explains: “The front and back face of the cladding follow whatever the glazing does in terms of curvature. The other


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two sides follow whatever the structural members are doing.” She adds: “The good part is that the surfaces of the cladding are always singly curved.”


Software & collaboration In 2008 ZHA principal Patrik Schumacher coined the term ‘parametric’ architecture to describe the practice’s vision of avoiding strict repetition, and instead pursuing the creation of more organic and free design forms with the help of software and algorithms. Although Morpheus is an experimental project in the luxury sector, in a highly competitive hotel environment where time is money there also needed to be a rigorous focus on efficient and quick solutions to ensure it met its three-year construction window, and software would be instrumental in this.


The architects adapted existing 3D design tools to efficiently create the design of unique free-form areas on Morpheus, as Muscettola explains: “I don’t think this would even have been built 10 years ago. In terms of producing the amount of information, developing the design at the speed that we did would have been impossible without the use of 3D tools.” These included Grasshopper, Rhino and special plugins that ZHA created for this


ADF NOVEMBER 2018


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