All-in-one tennis and event hall. The complex sits atop the Bürgenstock, some 874 metres above sea level. It features an impressive roof construction sloping at a variety of different angles as well as diamond patterns that mimic the shape of rock crystals.
DIAMONDS ON THE BÜRGENSTOCK
This is where you will find the two tennis and event halls with their polygon-shaped roofs which inspired the name “Diamond Domes”. They are part of the hotel and tourism group located on top of the ridge of the Bürgenstock in the canton of Nidwald (Obbürgen, Switzerland). The architectural history of this location can be traced back to 1872. The new owner, Katara Hospitality Switzerland AG, launched a great wave of modernisation in 2011.
STUDY CONTRACT WON
The study contract for the redesign of the tennis complex, including the clubhouse, was undertaken in 2010 and was based on the century-old design of the original complex. The idea behind the new complex was to have two symmetrically arranged tennis halls, separated by an outdoor space in their midst. The tennis halls were to become a striking feature of the hillside location. The extraordinary glass canopy covering a large open space conjured up images of pavilions in the form of a diamond or crystal. The complex projected over the service access road, forming a covered gallery with access to the maintenance area and the public car park, thereby retaining a generous open space to greet arriving vehicles.
The old clubhouse had been built on a road-side location a hundred years ago. In the new clubhouse the plan was for the club rooms, cloakrooms and reception area all to be centrally located at the entrance to the building. The forecourt was integrated into the newly designed pedestrian zone, thereby reinforcing the low-traffic character of the Bürgenstock Resort.
Having won the study project, the planners then went on to develop a new project based on the same fundamental concept: the crystal-shaped roofs of the halls. The new complex now consists of two symmetrically arranged tennis halls surrounding a central open space which can be converted into an ice rink in the winter. The tennis halls constitute a striking feature on the hillside location.
The complex projects over the service access road, forming a covered gallery with access to the maintenance area and the public car park, discreetly integrated within the building as a whole.
DELICATE SHAPES AND MATERIALS
The building sections are arranged symmetrically around a central outdoor tennis court. Two identical tennis halls with crystal-shaped roofs border the transverse sides of the court. A clubhouse with bar, cloakroom and reception area marks the end of the mountain-facing side of the building. In a departure from the design of the original complex, in which the clubhouse was positioned at the roadside, the new clubhouse was relocated under the road and is accessed from street level via an entrance pavilion. The service road for deliveries and access to the multi-storey car park is hidden underneath the tennis court and halls so players are not disturbed by passing traffic.
The building complex is designed in such a way as to make it more satisfying to look out from the complex to the valley below and the mountains opposite than to admire it from the valley. The façades are finished in natural stone in harmony with the style of the original construction of the Resort. It had originally been intended that the “fifth façade” should be made of glass and therefore transparent. Ultimately however, at the client’s request, the panels of the polygonal beam construction of the roof were clad in aluminium.
It was important that the construction form and materials should convey natural-looking restraint. The diamond-shaped metal roofing elements are particularly noteworthy. The visible elements of the façade are clad in natural stone. The filigree wooden supporting structure reveals its full glory in the building’s interior. The free-standing roof construction stretches over a rectangular area some 22 metres wide by 37 metres long. The halls owe their name to the roof construction whose diamond pattern across a range of different roof pitches is intended to conjure up images of a rock crystal. 4.2-metre-high glulam supports form the bedding, complemented by concrete walls constructed on the north, west and east sides.
The solutions adopted also had to reflect the financial resources at the disposal of the parties involved. In addition to the range of different roof pitches, the architecture demanded an interlocking diamond construction – coupled with the desire that no steel sections should be visible – all of which demanded extremely small dimensional tolerances.
PLANNED WITH DEFORMATION IN MIND
Another detail that had to be taken into account at the planning stage was roof deformation. This was because the building was to be surrounded by “rigid” concrete walls on three of its sides but by a relatively “flexible” glass façade on its southern elevation. The structure was assembled on four pre-positioned assembly towers. The support structure was erected on top of these towers in a slightly “exaggerated” position. At the assembly stage, the support structure was in a sort of pre-tensioned state. Once the three-layer panels had been assembled and complete static attachment to the diamond system had been achieved, the assembly towers were lowered. Once the initial planned deformation of the roof support structure had taken place, this was fixed to the concrete walls on three sides, meaning that deformations caused by variable roof loads could then only affect the window-side façade area.
MULTIFUNCTIONALITY WITH SPORTS USE IN MIND
In summer, the hall is ventilated by means of vents in the façade and roof. The hall can also be used as an event hall. In winter, the outdoor tennis court can be converted into a curling facility with four rinks, thus permitting the multifunctional use of the complex.
The visible parts of the building such as the entrance pavilion, tennis halls and the southern façade of the club area through to the outdoor court are clad in natural stone. This Dolomite Muschelkalk is reminiscent of the rock that is already present on the Bürgenstock and fits in well with the rest of the buildings and their stone cladding.
The tennis halls receive generous quantities of natural light through a structural glazing façade. The roof panels are made from aluminium composite panels, their colours matching those of the stone. The panels round off the exclusive appearance of the overall complex.
The interior fittings very much reflect the tennis and design themes. Simple materials, a few expressive colours and elegant furnishings complete the picture.
The materials intended for the halls were isolated, translucent multi-skin sheets, the idea being that they would prevent glare from affecting the tennis players. In summer, the hall is ventilated by means of ventilation flaps. In winter, the outdoor tennis court can be converted into a curling facility with four rinks or into an ice rink, thus permitting the multifunctional use of the complex.
OLD CLUB HOUSE – ADAPTED TO MEET NEW CHALLENGES
The old clubhouse, originally built at street level, has now been replaced with one located underneath the Resort’s promenade, adjacent to the outdoor and indoor tennis courts. The entrance to the clubhouse is centrally located between the two halls. In the new clubhouse, the club rooms, cloakrooms and reception area all centrally located next to one another. Floors throughout the clubhouse as a whole are laid with Ramflex, a rubber granulate. This helps those engaged in sporting activities to move around in the winter, allowing them easily to walk from the cloakrooms to the outdoor rink wearing ice skates. There are drop-down cross-over points and a lift to make it easier for wheelchair-bound tennis enthusiasts to enter the complex.
“Play like a Swiss tennis star” – an enticing prospect offered by the complex on the Bürgenstock.
An amazing tennis experience amidst the magnificent surroundings of the Bürgenstock Resort.