Stone in Architecture / Commercial / International Coverage

German limestone helps re-define a Swiss landmark

September 1, 2011

Standing high above Lake Zurich in Switzerland, the five-star Dolder Grand dates back to 1899, when it was completed under the direction of Swiss architect Jacques Gros. Over the past few years, the hotel underwent a renewal that involved completely rebuilding the facility. Among the more prominent features of this project, the spa area and portions of the exterior facade utilize German limestone.

The architect for the project was Foster + Partners of London, England, and the goal was to respect the original architecture of the hotel while also blending in modern amenities. “The scheme integrates a substantial new extension, more than doubling the hotel accommodation and reconnecting it to the surrounding forest and resort,” stated the firm.

In selecting materials for the Dolder Grand project, Foster + Partners sought a color palette that would “harmonize the overall composition” of the resort. This included the use of Dietfurt Beige limestone from Franken-Schotter of Treuchtlingen-Dietfurt, Germany.

“The scheme restores the logic of the original hotel,” stated Foster + Partners. “Internally, the planning has been transformed. The most significant moves have been to create a linked suite of grand public rooms, including a new ballroom, and to reinstate the grand southern entrance so that arriving guests now enjoy breathtaking views across Zurich and the Alps. Two new wings frame the historic Dolder, complementing the addition of a spa and a new ballroom.”

The German limestone is used for a series of radius walls that begin at the exterior spaces, and also transfer through to the interior, where they were used to define a 40,000-square-foot spa that Foster + Partners characterizes as a “highlight” of the new Dolder Grand.

“The winding stone walls that begin in the landscape continue inside to frame a canyon-like space for the pool,” according to a design statement by Foster + Partners. “In some areas, the walls are perforated to allow sunlight to filter in, and provide a dynamic play of light and shadow while maintaining absolute privacy.”

The stone on the walls feature a “rock face” finish, contrasting elements such as the glazing that is found throughout the resort. Meanwhile, the lobby of the spa area features Dietfurt Beige limestone in a honed finish, taken from a particularly uniform layer of the Jura quarry.

In addition to its aesthetic qualities, the Dolder Grand was also built with an emphasis on being environmentally friendly. According to Foster + Partners, although the resort provides double the floor space, the new building consumes half the energy of the old facility — or 75% less energy per square foot.

Infrastructure improvements were also made so that the Dolder Grand can be enjoyed by locals and travelers alike, as the Dolderbahn cog railway station was reinstated to allow for easy transport to the site.                  

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