Intercontinental Hotel and Business Center
Yerevan, Armenia : 2010
The building design takes cues from the storied history of Armenia, the diverse and unique cultural heritage of the Armenian people, the dominant presence of the site, the multiplicity of program needs and opportunities, and the beauty of the surrounding and distant landscape. The vertical mass of the building is located at the southern end of the site, making it the dominant focal point when traveling toward the site on Teryan Street. This location maximizes the views from the hotel suites, serviced apartments and the residential living spaces toward the city center and Mount Ararat in the distance. The horizontal mass of the building is spread across the site, promoting the overlap of interior and exterior spaces and the mixture of public and private programs. The larger form of the building is the product of delaminated volumes that peel open in response to programmatic adjacencies, the circulation of people through the building, and to capture views framed through perforations in the building envelope. Prominent views from the building are highlighted to heighten the occupant’s awareness of what lies beyond their immediate space. By opening voids through the project in both plan and section, the building acts as a filter, allowing light to penetrate deep into the center of the building. Visual access between the programs sponsors the active and passive participation of the occupants and promotes a sense of community.
Given the prominent location of the project, the program must address an additional layer of issues and support the opportunities that come with them. For this reason, the building accommodates more programs than typically required for a hotel. In addition to the residential tower, hotel and guest services, serviced apartments, the business center and a gym for health and fitness, our project includes a large conference and exhibition wing, dining, high-end shopping and multiple public and semi-private terraces, including areas from which to view the city and surrounding landscape. The building addresses the functional needs of the hotel, but also acts as an attraction for international tourists, thus promoting positive growth and progress for the region. The building provides a range of experience, from monumental ballrooms and exhibition halls to small areas that can be enjoyed by individuals or groups. By splitting the mass into multiple bands, we expose a number of these spaces throughout the building; on the interior, as well as the exterior. The design takes advantage of these openings by mixing the circulation of people with the activities in which they participate.
The surface of the building repeats vernacular motifs common to the region. The exterior envelope includes an assemblage of steel frames with transparent and fritted glass. The frames are sized to increase visibility from the interior while also providing shade on the southern facade during the summer. In addition, the modulated depth of each surface component can be tuned to filter sunlight into the rooms during the cold winter months. This pattern is manifest in the traditional coursing of large stone panels that clad a monolithic reinforced concrete core to which the floor slabs attach. The surface motif is repeated in a steel and glass band between each floor level. The mesh is perforated where large expanses of windows are required for views, light and access. The frequency of the perforation is determined by the amount of direct and indirect light that best suits the program behind the surface. Additionally, the component size can vary to produce a denser surface that mimics the monolithic coursing of the stone work. This use of surface pattern reinforces our intent to dissolve boundaries; between multiple programs, and the interior and exterior. From certain views, the proposed building appears to be massive, while from other vantage points, it dissolves and the inner life pours out.
This building will be a great resource for the city and people of Yerevan. It combines multiple programs that will service both occupants and visitors. The program, site and form will draw people to the building and provide a new attraction for local constituents. As a dominant form, the building will play a role in the future development of the city. At the same time, the location of the site and orientation of the building will continue to attract attention from both local and international travelers.