1000 composite panels will make up the exterior of the hotel.
1000 composite panels will make up the exterior of the hotel.

The Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Gateway Tower, situated in the desert 150 km East of Dubai, is a 200 m tall, 5-star hotel that will begin construction shortly.

Premier Composite Technologies (PCT) has worked closely with architects Snøhetta to develop an innovative composite building envelope, meaning the exterior is fully clad and delivered to site as all-in-one units that are attached to the building slabs without need for further substructure. 14

1000, 8 m x 4 m insulated panels will make up the exterior of the hotel. Each panel has a complex biaxial curved shape and is made from a sandwich of glass fibre/epoxy composite with a structural foam core.

Structural bonded glass windows are built into the façade, and the panels are decorated with large ceramic tiles.

The panels are lifted by crane and are connected to each other with a watertight bolted, panel to panel connection.

Snøhetta architect Thomas Fagernes says: “We've designed a building with a geometry that does not really lend itself to any traditional building materials.”

Fagernes says that this, combined with the weight and size of the panels needed, is why composite materials were chosen.

 


This article is an extract from the feature Lighter, stronger, greener – building with composites, which was published in the March/April 2012 ssue of Reinforced Plastics magazine. You can read the complete feature here.