COMPOSITESANDARCHITECTURE.COM, FEBRUARY 2017: “ARCHITECTURE AS ADVERTISEMENT”
In 2011, Composites World reported on an eye-catching project in Benidorm Spain, a very non-traditional fiberglass composite cladding for the Vista Riviera Hotel. Now named the Riviera Beachotel (despite the fact that it is a good three blocks away from Levante Beach), the tall, narrow hotel faces the world with gleaming white façade perforated by a series of round openings in three sizes. The largest of these actually break the front corner of the building. The smallest have integral awnings that resemble the exaggerated eyelids of Robert Crumb cartoon characters. In this resort town on the Spanish Riviera, it’s probably good business to stand out, and the Riviera Beachotel definitely looks different from any of the other hotels around it.
The 44,000m2 (473,612 ft2) façade was designed by Spanish architect Vicente Peidró. The panels were produced by Miraplas SL using light resin transfer molding (LRTM) and hand layup. They were created with the collaboration of an independent RTM expert, José Manuel Bey Garcia. The 5mm thick composite elements are made of three layers of chopped fiberglass mat impregnated with isophthalic resin. A bright white gelcoat was bonded to the surface during molding.
The complex shape of the nine triangular front panels presented the biggest molding challenge. Each was actually cast in eight separate pieces that were joined together with Crystic Crestomer 1152PA urethane acrylate structural adhesive made by Scott Bader Co. Ltd. The adhesive only has a working time of about 45 minutes, so it was applied with a pneumatic gun. The eight parts were held in position for gluing by a specially-made metal clamping jig. The adhesive was also used to attach the steel frames used to fasten the façade panels to the building.
The hotel uses the sculpted building shell to great advantage for attracting attention. Colored lights behind the panels give the building the night-time appearance of an enormous lantern, shining out to lure tourists into a unique hotel.
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