Composite panels clad Sheraton Hotel at Malpensa Airport in Milan

7 June 2010

The new Sheraton Hotel at Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy, which is set to open in July 2010, features a unique outer design created from a glass fiber reinforced composite panels.

Designed by the architects King Roselli Architetti of Rome, the hotel is conceived as a large folding skin wrapping the modules that contain the rooms. The building features various apertures with all the installations being hidden beneath the cover.

The overall structure is 450 meters wide and 14 meters high. It has three floors, consisting of offices, 420 rooms, caf├ęs and restaurants, and a 2000 square meter conference center.

The overall shape of the building was realized through the application of an outer skin made from glass fiber reinforced composite panels. The material was processed by the Italian company Progettazione Costruzione Ricerca (P.C.R.), using a pultrusion process that involved pushing out thermoset profiles by pulling reinforced fibers through a resin. Clad in a white-grey film, the quartz finish of the outer skin is achieved from P.C.R.'s Qflex technology. It claims to be water-repellent. Glass fiber from 3B, a fiberglass manufacturer based in Belgium, was used in the pultruded composite panels.

In addition to its light weight, the material reinforced with glass fibers also claims to offer corrosion resistance as well as electrical and thermal insulation. The material was produced in 20 meters long and one meter wide strips.

The hotel was commissioned in 2006. Gruppo Degennaro, Bari, has constructed this building at an approximate cost of EUR67 million ($81.59 million).