Is Europe set to follow Asia in Skyscraper competition?

In recent times Asia has set the standard when it comes to jaw-dropping, state-of-the-art skyscrapers, but according to the Telegraph, a sleepy resort in the Swiss Alps could be set to challenge for the title.

Spa resort set to become Europe’s tallest skyscraper

Richard Carr Vals Swiss

Vals, Switzerland

Quiet towns, chalets, skiing and small chapels are just some of the things you relate to when thinking about the Swiss Alps. However, if proposed plans are approved, a remote spa resort high in the Alps could become home to the tallest skyscraper in Europe.

Vals, a town of just 1,000 people which is hidden away some 4,000 feet up in the Swiss Alps, will be the location for the tower measuring a proposed 1,250-feet in the air, 250ft higher than London’s shard.

Luxury hotel aimed at Middle East and Asian guests

The plans for the hotel will officially be revealed next week in Zurich with the estimated cost of the build in the region of £135m. Unsurprisingly, the plans have already come in for heavy criticism in Switzerland.

“Skyscrapers in the Alps are an absurdity. There is no need to accommodate people in such a small space in the mountains,” said Vittorio Lampugnani, Professor of Architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

“It’s marketing,” Benedict Loderer, an architecture critic, told Basler Zeitung newspaper, adding that he did not believe the project would come to fruition.

“It’s a question of the skyscraper’s position. If you put it in a valley, that’s relatively meaningless.”

The luxury hotel will be marketed at guests from the Middle East and Asia, however long stays aren’t recommended, unless you have very deep pockets.

Set to contain 100 suites, the cheapest per night will be £675, whilst the most expensive will set you back £16,000!

Reaching for the stars

Remo Stoffel, the owner of the Vals spa, and Pius Truffer, a local quarry entrepreneur, are the brains behind the project. Prize-winning architect, Thom Mayne, has reportedly produced the plan for the hotel, which will have unusually deep foundations to help anchor it to the ground.

“I know we’re reaching for the stars. We want to build one of the five best hotels in the world,” Mr Truffer told 20 Minuten newspaper.

Tall buildings create a sense of success

Richard Carr is a big fan of tall buildings, such as the one proposed for Vas, and is a firm believer that they give a sense of success to a city or town.

As well as being a statement, he believes that they are a great economic stimulant as they concentrate human occupation per sq metre.

Whereas the UK has become locked down by planning doctrine and NIMBYs that nothing creative or unusual gets built. Had Sir Christopher Wren or Sir Charles Barry been of this era they wouldn’t have created such magnificent buildings like St Pauls Cathedral and Big Ben, like they did in their time.

Richard believes that the next government should scrap all local plans, special strategies and core strategies and let common sense and market forces prevail. He believes the government will meet its 200,000 homes target if so and it may also inspire some unusual architecture. However, the only piece of legislation that should be kept, is the ‘green belt’.

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