Oikios completes Alpine hotel
with "unbuildable facade"


Waves of gold-coloured steel create a shell around this hotel in Swiss ski resort Davos by Munich architects Oikios (+ slideshow).

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

Oliver Hofmeister of Oikios led a team of design studios to create the complex facade of the InterContinental Davos Hotel in the Alpine town.

"Seen in the light of the budget available and the high quality demands, many experts had first deemed the facade 'unbuildable'," the architects said.

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

Undulating sections overlap slightly as they curve around the domed building. The designers said that the shape was based on a pine cone found in the nearby forest.

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

The waves create openings in the facade around the balconies for the 216 rooms and 38 residences, framing views of the mountains across the valley.

"The undulating envelope wraps itself tightly around the structure, leading to an interplay between open and closed surfaces which appears different from every angle," said the architects.

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

Overseen by facade specialists Seele, the geometry was created using parametric digital modelling by Stuttgart studio Designtoproduction.

Over 790 steel panels are mounted onto a gridded frame of squares, made up of primary and secondary ribs that create the three-dimensional curvature.

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

Three-millimetre sheet steel, with a champagne-coloured metallic coating, was chosen over aluminium as it was cheaper and less susceptible to changes in length that occur with temperature fluctuations.

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

The panels were manufactured in the Czech Republic and transported to Davos by road, secured in bespoke frames.

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

Inside, facilities include a restaurant, conference rooms and a sky lounge on the 10th floor, with interiors by Swedish firm Living Design.

A 1,200-square-metre spa features 12 treatment rooms, a fitness area, a hairdresser, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, rest rooms and a sauna area.

Davos Hotel by OIKIOS

Other hotels with interesting facades include Zaha Hadid's 40-storey building with an exposed exoskeleton in Macau and Jean Nouvel's tower in Barcelona that is punctured by windows shaped like palm fronds.

Photography is by René Müller.

Project credits:

Project: New InterContinental Davos Hotel
Construction time: 2008 to 2013
Facade erection: September 2012 to September 2013
Client/Investor: Credit Suisse Real Estate Fund Hospitality
Architects: Oikios GmbH
General contractor: Consortium – TU Baulink AG, Toneatti
Geometry design: Designtoproduction
Facade: Seele
Structural engineers, facade: Wilhelm + Partner

  • Rognos Resident

    Why call it an unbuildable facade when it has been built? That echoes silliness greater than Captain McSilly of Rognos island, who, as legend has it, was the most silly of our peoples.

    • SteveLeo

      “Seen in the light of the budget available and the high quality demands, many experts had FIRST deemed the facade ‘unbuildable’,” the architects said.

      They said at first it was termed unbuildable, hence the speech marks in the article title. I imagine they discovered a method of producing it, because as you say, it has been produced.

  • Dubai just called, and they want their artificial island condo back. Your Swiss ski lodge does not fit in their climate-controlled dome.

  • Nick

    God this guy is getting boring now!

  • _DAV_

    I dare you to recognise it from a long shot.

  • definn

    Too big, too eggy and too golden. Simply useless. The first company to run it after the opening already went bankrupt. It gets filled probably once a year at the WEF.

    • rcs410

      You sound like Veruca Salt’s father.

  • While the result is better than a massive glazed box, or modern resort lodge, I can’t help but think that the waves obscure so many of the spectacular views toward the top. I wish the wave had dissipated higher up to allow for better views.

  • Adam

    I’d much rather look at the unframed landscape, if their idea of ‘framing’ is to cut off half your view and replace it with a heavy, blank face of gold-painted steel. Pretty disappointing to see the surreal views of the surrounding landscape choked and devalued like that.

  • Jim

    From some angles it is beautiful, simply gorgeous. From others it is boring. There’s something stuffy and overly formal about the long view which I wouldn’t have thought possible with an egg shape. Perhaps, as Liberty Disciple said, if the waves attenuated at the top; or if they resolved differently into the roofline.

  • Ciarán Ferrie

    How appropriate that Davos should lay a golden egg.

  • shdm

    Why would you deny the guests of this hotel their beautiful alpine vistas by blocking them with a tacky gold balcony?

  • Rae Claire

    Overly busy to no purpose. In spite of all the shapely undulations, it still seems heavy and clumsy. Looks like a quirky cruise ship met a woven bread-basket. Might look better in a setting other than these mountains. Perhaps an amusement park or a world’s fair.

  • dan

    What a shame it turned out to be buildable.