Dr. Margot Krasojevic is known for using digital parameters to explore the psychological effects of architecture – materials and spatiality – on its inhabitants. The Hanging Hotel / Suspended Campsite is one such project that was completed in October 2011 for Holden Manz Wine Estate Cape Town in Massif de L’ Esterel, (Gorges Du Vedron) South of France. The project is an investigation in the choreography of perceptions of the environment around us. In this particular project, catering to rock climbers, Dr. Krasojevic uses compound glass and a prism louver system to alter how the climbers see their environment and stimulates different psychological experiences based on these subtle shifts in vision. More on this project after the break.
The Hanging Hotel is a composition of platforms and pods that are affixed to the existing granite through borehole foundations injected into the rock face that clamp the structure to the façade. These platforms can be used as additional obstacles for the climbers, but are intended to be used as rest areas for a pause along the route. The primary structure of the platforms and their interior pods are composed of steel horizontal piles, columns and steel frame sections. The secondary structure is the wooden walkway that supports the structure and creates a smooth geometry across the surface. Third is laminated plywood paneling and and a carbon fibre reinforced polymer shell that partitions the pods. The structure is finished with elastic plaster and paint.
But the most important ingredient to this mix of materials in the holographic filtered compound glass and prism louver system that creates the affects sought out by Dr. Krasojevic. The glass first serves the practical purpose of protecting the climbers from harmful UVB rays from the sun. The holographic filter reduces the glare and types of wavelengths that enter the pods. For exhausted climbers this is an important aspect that also provides a safe environment in which to relax before continuing their climb.
Because these filters are removable, it allows the experience of the pods to be choreographed based on the desired affect. The louvers to which the filters are affixed wrap around the pods and create a shading system. They also dim the sunlight and with certain tweaks of the filters they can produce mirages and illusions out of the true environment, altering colors and relationships of the views. The design also takes advantage of the altitude, which can be disorienting in itself, as well as the exhaustion associated with rock climbing.
The pods allow occupants to disassociate from the reality of the present moment by altering the visual components. It works in two ways. It provides mental relaxation and preparation for the rest of the climb and creates a meditative environment to aid recovery. It can also “tune climbers in” to the reality of the environment by creating a hyperawareness about the nuances of light that our vision may not be accustomed to seeing. The pods are half construction, half excavation of the rock. They can also be perceived as an extension of the rock wall. Finger and fist jams are added to the concrete surface structure sprayed into the boreholes and over the surfaces creating an artificial climbing surface for access to the platforms.