Complex Leisure Projects event report

The event on complex leisure and hospitality was a great success. The busy seminar featured three professional duets, all of whom discussed the design, materialisation and construction of some highly intriguing projects, such as the new FletcherA2 hotel in the Netherlands.

Materia joined forces with architecture network Booosting to organise the seminar as part of our Leisure & Hospitality theme. In this session, design and construction professionals were asked to talk about recent projects, particularly in how materials’ expertise and technological developments helped turn design problems into design success. In each case, the overall rule of thumb is repeated: it always helps to collect the most knowledgeable parties in each part of the design process and take a clean, clear approach.

The first example is the collaboration between Octatube and Holland Composites. Octatube designs and engineers complex structures such as free-standing glass facades and doubly curved geometries. The Yitzak Rabin Centre in Tel Aviv, for instance, had roof elements modelled on the wings of doves. Inspired by the world of boating, Holland Composites, who had previously designed self-supporting plastic student housing, joined Octatube and got to work on the shiny white roof.

Preformed shells made of glass-fibre and reinforced with polymer were bolted together and covered with a polyester top-coat. While composites can be fantastically strong but not very stiff, point-loads are an issue. So an internal structure was developed to distribute loads, particularly where the shells are supported. The roof weighs approximately 50 kg/m2. Its polyester finish is relatively matte – it has a kind of orange-peel effect to it. However, because the roof is always some distance from visitors, this was no real issue.

Bolstered by this success, the two continued collaboration on the FletcherA2 hotel, designed by Benthem Crouwel architects. The building’s rounded shape, derived from the idea that every room would be equal, demanded a curved exterior. For this exposed, light-weight and high-strength façade, composites were again the answer. Holland Composite’s experiments had led to developing a highly efficient vacuum-moulding process. In an airtight sac, a resin is added to a matrix composed of high-strength fibres. Under vacuum conditions, the resin spreads to fill all gaps and after drying, the result is a light, strong façade element. The colour is given by a novel process: a special foil was developed which covers each panel in a conspicuous baby blue.

While it is possible to use other materials and colours, these two procedures meant that panel variations were possible while the curvature was kept constant and production was efficient. This also allowed the different window sizes (pictured as round holes) to be prefabricated. Glass was added to the panels on-site to seal the façade.


We will be bringing you the stories on the other projects soon. These complicated designs include a children’s theatre that was built inside an existing church and a multi-use music hall that has very high acoustic demands coupled with dynamic routing.

The event was hosted at DeltaLight’s offices, for which many thanks.