SOM designs aliminium facade for Bahrain’s Four Seasons Hotel

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Possessing one of the most striking facades in the Middle East is the Four Seasons Hotel in Bahrain, designed by US firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM).

The 273-bedroom Four Seasons Hotel in Bahrain is a new visual anchor in the city with its unusual of concrete piers and suspended volumes.

SOM say the building in the capital city of Manama was a series of opportunities.

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“It’s not very often that you design the masterplan and then get to build on it. And there aren’t many standalone hotel projects either,” says project architect Thomas Behr. “We are building a relationship with the city and we hope this project is part of the legacy, and that it leads to other projects like it.”

A key component of the building is its striking façade, with products from aluminium specialist firm Reynaers based on a finish that prevents it from being bland and monolithic.

The entrance is made more intimate through the addition of an external bronze powder-coated aluminium ceilinged porte-cochere, which continues into the lobby.

The impact of the 200 meter tall tower is softened by a series of pavilions for the spa and conference facilities on either side, as well as a Mediterranean-style garden planted with olive trees and wild flowers.

The Reynaers products were selected by façade contractor Jungbluth Alu Partners because “the company has a long-standing good relationship with Reynaers and the service is very pro-active”, said lead engineer Roland Jungbluth.

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Behr said: ‘The building’s design is informed by the need to make it striking on an urban scale, yet intimate for guests so it feels like a resort.

“It is a very strong design when you look at it in the Bahrain skyline because it is so simple. The concrete clad ‘piers’ or ‘walls’ are very dominant. It makes a statement, it’s a kind of gateway to the city.

“I believe that architects have a social, environmental and economic responsibility, and understanding these responsibilities allows me to unlock the true value of a project.”

Each bedroom has full-height windows overlooking the bays, while the aluminium panels throughout the building visually connect the disparate volumes.

Behr added: “With all the difficulties Bahrain went through as a result of the global economic crisis, many projects got cancelled. This is the first major project since, and has kick-started a new wave of development.”

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