Project for Europe's tallest hotel in Swiss Alps blasted

The proposal for the 7132 Tower in the Swiss Alps (PRNewsFoto/Morphosis Architects)

The proposal for the 7132 Tower in the Swiss Alps (PRNewsFoto/Morphosis Architects)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

Plans to build Europe's tallest hotel structure smack dab in the middle of a quiet, bucolic village in the Swiss Alps are being panned by critics as an architectural insult on the senses.

It was supposed to be a badge of honor. Bragging rights that would make the '7132' Tower overtake The Shard in London as the tallest building in the European Union, at 381 meters tall (1,250 feet). 

But the reception for the 7132 Tower in Vals, Switzerland -- population 1,000 -- has been a cold and hostile one, with critics describing the slim, shiny monolith towering over the otherwise sleepy Alpine valley as an esthetic offense.

To be developed by Los Angeles-based Morphosis Architects, the renderings call for a podium that would link the building with neighboring buildings; a cantilever comprised of a restaurant, café, spa and bar; and main hotel tower housing a sky bar, restaurant and 107 guest rooms.

The resort will serve as luxury accommodations for the spa town, which draws visitors to its thermal baths and Alpine scenery.

And while architect Thom Mayne says the project was designed to "harmonize" the hotel's natural surroundings, critics have a decidedly different point of view.

"It is a gigantic mirror-clad middle finger aimed at the region; indeed, it's hard to imagine a more obnoxious gesture to inflict on a sleepy spa town," reads a scathing piece in The Guardian which describes the tower as a "design statement that verges on farce."

Writer Oliver Wainwright also takes aim at the design's overriding principle -- namely that the tower's reflective, mirrored surface and slender profile will serve to dissolve itself into the landscape, "...abstracting and displacing the valley and sky."

"Will his gargantuan stack of 107 guest rooms and suites...really disappear in a shimmering apparition? More likely they'll cast a long shadow over the region, standing as an omnipresent overblown monument to the hoteliers' greed."

In an interview in the Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten, Vittorio Lampugnani, an architecture professor at the Federal Institute of Technology also called the idea of skyscrapers in the Alps "an absurdity."

A sentiment echoed by many readers who also weighed in on the article.

One of the most popular comments?

"Absolute nonsense, economically, artistically and otherwise."

The 7132 Tower is slated to open in 2019.


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