The early 20th Century hotel that once stood on a small platform on the north side of Monte Generoso, one of the highest peaks in Switzerland’s Canton Ticino, has recently been replaced by a new construction designed by architect Mario Botta. Described by the architect as a “Stone flower” (Fiore di pietra) on account of its shape, the steel, stone and glass structure flares slightly outwards as it rises from its orthogonal base, only to taper slightly at the top like the corolla of a flower. The reinforced concrete frame is clad in an alternating pattern of smooth and rough surfaced horizontally arranged stone. The lobed shape of each separate segment pierced by large glazed openings - framed with Jansen steel profiles - render the sections less imposing. The first two levels of this four-story building are occupied by exhibition spaces and offices. The two upper levels are given over to a self-service cafeteria and restaurant with a panoramic terrace. Logistic and static constraints guided the choice of structural frames for the glazed façades. Since the location can only be reached by cable car, this latter’s carrying capacity determined how large the numerous construction elements could be. The glazed sections also had to take into account the rugged climate conditions at an altitude of 1,600 m. A mullion and transom system using Jansen VISS TVS HI steel profiles was developed to frame the modular series of triple glazed lights. The upper glazed modules also serve as the parapet of the panoramic terrace. In addition, five glazed doors give access to the terrace from the inside, their size calculated to withstand a snow load of 10.8 kN/m2 and a maximum wind speed of 178 km/h, equivalent to a pressure of 1.54 kN/m2. In compliance with fire regulations, all floors are equipped with fireproof walls and doors, respectively, a fire protection façade with Jansen VISS Fire TV (E160 fire resistance) profiles, and the Janisol 2 fire protection door (E130 fire resistance). At the architect’s request to change the standard handles, the profiles were adapted to accommodate a simple rounded L-shaped item more in line with the linear design of the doors. The building’s stone-clad petals are separated by vertical glazed elevations framed with the Jansen VISS HI TVS system (face width 50 mm), while the outer layer of the sandwich panel along the stringcourses is stainless steel.
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