InterContinental Davos Hotel, Davos, Switzerland: seele realised a milestone in façade construction, with a steel façade that seems to flow and a distinctive rounded appearance.




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sprayed area




individual components

hotel davos – elegant 3D waves in steel

Designed by the Munich-based architectural practice Oikios, the main building of the Alpengold Hotel Davos has become an unmistakable new landmark due to its oval form and a metal façade that almost seems to be flowing. The incisive curves of the external envelope allow the building to merge into its surroundings and at the same time diminish the apparent size. Wavy façade elements that wrap themselves tightly around a strictly orthogonal core structure.

Every one of the 791 spandrel panel elements is unique. However, each has an identical, square, steel rib construction, so the elements could still be produced very economically according to a modular system. In terms of the manufacturing precision, the individual elements (in standard sizes of about 1.6m x 4.5m and special sizes up to 14.6m long) are comparable with pieces of furniture – and were handled with similar care. Every façade element had its own bespoke transport frame so that it could be safely transported to Davos by road from the production plant in Plzeň in the Czech Republic.

  • The high degree of prefabrication and the precise logistics, which included a computer-based erection simulation, ensured optimum procedures on site as well as extremely fast erection for a building of this size and complexity. All the façade elements, including the roof dome, were erected in just six months.

    Reference overview and Header image: © seele/René Müller

The shimmering façade cladding to the 42m high luxury hotel in Davos consists of undulating ribbons of steel wound around the 10 storeys of the structure. © seele/René Müller
In terms of the precision of their machining, the quality of the surfaces can be compared with that of furniture. Concealed connections in stainless steel and an elaborate coating system with a specially developed wet coating create a fascinating façade. © seele/René Müller
Every spandrel panel element is unique. However, each one has an identical, square steel rib frame, so the elements could still be produced very economically according to a modular system. © seele/René Müller
Whereas the horizontal elements form the actual spandrel panels, the vertical elements join together the rows of panels diagonally to form multi-storey cascades. © seele/René Müller
High quality standards, budgetary requirements, buildability and the need to control thermal expansion resulted in the use of steel. With such a complex form, elastic, three-dimensional deformation of the material was called for. © seele/René Müller
The name of the plot of land on which the hotel stands is “In der Stilli” – a name that reflects the tranquil, sheltered surroundings. A pine cone with its smooth scales from the nearby forest provided another source of inspiration. So that is how the hotel got its curving oval envelope. © seele/René Müller
Studies carried out at the location with brass pigments from mines from all over the world at different times of the year and under different lighting conditions led to the decision to adopt a champagne-coloured metallic surface finish. © seele/René Müller

The “unbuildable façade” is built

At first it seemed that a building envelope with such delicately shaped elements and constantly changing curves would only be possible in aluminium, if at all. Façade specialist seele proposed an alternative solution with steel elements – a combination of steel rib shells as the load-bearing internal framework with elastically supported thin steel sheets to ensure a high-quality finish for the external skin. High quality standards, budgetary requirements, buildability and the need to control thermal expansion resulted in the use of steel. This form of construction allowed the geometry to be implemented as originally intended, with high precision, minimal tolerances and the smooth surfaces of the architect’s design. The internal supporting frame for each façade element is made up of laser-cut primary and secondary rib.

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In order to vary the interdependencies of the complex stipulations all the architectural requirements and principles were implemented in the form of a parameter-controlled script.
A parameterised template with fixing holes and precise push-fit connections in the laser-cut components enabled the spandrel panels to be fitted together like a modular system.
A high degree of prefabrication plus precise logistics, including a computer-based erection simulation, ensured optimum coordination on site. All elements were erected on site in six months.
Every one of the 791 spandrel panel elements is unique and required its own bespoke transport frame. Some 200 journeys between Plzeň and Davos were necessary to deliver all the elements.


Client Credit Suisse AG
Main contractor ARGE Baulink/Toneatti AG
Architect Oikios GmbH
Engineer Wilhelm + Partner, Stuttgart (DE)
Date of completion 2013
Scope of work by seele

Development, design, fabrication and erection of

  • 5,100sqm façade to main hotel building
  • 735sqm aluminium louvres mounted on roof dome