King Kong has positioned the new hotel complex within the plot selected with respect for a linear north-south alignment. Yet the building’s rectangular upper volumes belie its ground plan which gently espouses the curve of the site, where access to the airport facilities is provided. The ground floor is amply glazed and opens fully onto the exterior spaces. It accommodates the entrance lobby to which access is gained via spacious turnstiles which also serve to improve thermal comfort, while vertical circulation is provided for hotel clients, away from the main flow of travelers. The acoustic and thermal treatment of the ground floor spaces, together with the lighting, lend it a warm, inviting atmosphere.
The bar, restaurant and terrace are open to the public and will unquestionably attract custom. They are equipped with a high level of amenities and offer a warm and pleasant space, at once intimate in feel and providing ample exterior views.
This is the perfect place for meeting up and sharing pleasant moments, and the architectural design of this recreational space is particularly attentive to detail. The restaurant’s dining hall is amply gazed, offering unimpeded views. The terrace requested in the project specifications unfolds around the building’s prow, adjacent to the tramline and opposite the roundabout, making the hotel an immediately identifiable showcase for those traveling to the airport by tram or car.
The terrace is flat and has level access, without ramps or stairs, allowing its generous volume to flow freely. Its supporting base is surfaced with gabions, providing a natural habitat for wild plants. The service facilities of the entire hotel complex are housed within the building’s base.
The architects have positioned a partially cantilevered volume above the base accommodating the MICE activities and clearly identifiable, just like the restaurant, from the building’s exterior. This voices the hotel’s vocation as a place for working and playing, for events and entertainment, not just for sleeping. The hotel rooms are distributed from the half level, set between the ground and first floors, up to the building’s summit.
Dressed to the Nines
Disruptive pattern camouflage, also known as Razzle Dazzle in the US, or Dazzle camouflage, is a well-known military defense technique.
It can also be used to dispel the monotony of an unbroken façade (of which examples abound among neighbouring hotels), thereby ‘scrambling’ the onlooker’s reading of the simple, functional volume projected here. Inspiration for the Razzle pattern has come from the counterpoised nature of the building’s volume arrangement, giving rise to a pattern positioned vertically, but in syncopated rather than serial fashion. Each hotel room corresponds to 3 strips in the pattern, of which two comprise windows. The glazing either descends right down to the floor or right up to the ceiling. Each room therefore has its own personality and the building’s façade is stamped with a design which is very much a variation on the theme of non-alignment. Each variation is part of a coherent whole, inspired by the ground plan from which the building rises.
The MICE level is enhanced by the presence of slatted golden cladding, also used across the inferior face of the ground floor ceiling, where its blades espouse the lithe rhythms of the building’s undulating form. Red and gold are used in resplendent harmony here, glowing across the highly visible promontory. The use of slats is an effective means of enhancing the level of radiance produced.
The façades are clad in a seamless swathe of Corian®, thereby avoiding the ungainly joins made necessary by the use of traditional panelling. Technical considerations are eclipsed by the implementation of this revolutionary material. Pollution is a major problem for buildings situated near airports. Corian® however, is self cleaning and will guarantee the building’s durability.
The base is formed by gabions, positioned in tiers to diminish the sheer verticality of their effect. Above them, the Y shaped columns of the ground floor echo the design enveloping the façade. The hotel is very much dressed to the nines, either in elegant black and white, or radiant gold and red on the ground floor and MICE level, eloquently voicing the dynamic expansion of the NH brand, together with that of Blagnac airport. The building is a highly original entity, conspicuous thanks not only thanks to the elegance of its design, functionality and aesthetics, but also its use of Corian®, setting it apart from its rivals and underscoring its role as a showcase for the airport’s shimmering horizons, as an intelligent role model for future development.
Vistas over the surrounding landscape
The plot on which the hotel complex stands is a green oasis set within the existing urban masterplan. Pride of place is given to landscape here, echoed in the hanging gardens, green roof terraces of the MICE, and relaxed relationship the building entertains with its environment. Biodiversity is thereby favoured and rainwater harvested, with the roof terraces functioning as a ‘thermal buffer.’
A real concern for the environment is also exhibited on the top floor, where solar collectors have been installed on the gravel-covered rooftop. The top floor is sensitively designed, constituting a fifth horizontal façade to be enjoyed by those traveling in and out by plane.
Location: Toulouse Blagnac Airport, France
Area: 8,359 sqm
Architects: atelier d’architecture King Kong