Paul Steelman, CEO of Steelman Partners, talks about the design considerations for the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila.  He discusses the importance of the building layout and prioritizing components of the building program. He also explains how the client impacted the design, and how the project being in the Philippines impacted structural decisions.

Practical Applications

Today I'm gonna tell you about a little project that we built.It was one million square feet several years ago named Solaire. Not only did we build the project, we came up with the name Solaire. The project was approximately one million square foot, five hundred room hotel.

Our site led us to create through our site analysis the building that is the most successful in all of Manila today, and that had to do not only with the architecture, but it all started with a unique site analysis. Now this particular building is quite low, which is problematic for us. We take times on footsteps to hotel rooms, and elevators, and things of this nature.

Those power spaces of gaming led us to subdivide them into income groups to create VIP casinos, VVIP casinos, mass casinos, VIP mass casinos, and low-end casinos. And then put the appropriate tandem-based activities in the facility that would support them. Casinos and integrated resorts are funny buildings.

Well it's pretty simple in our buildings the first priority is the casino, so you must get that absolutely 100% correct. It has a very unique design culture within a casino. We try to give it the empowerment emotion, so the emotional design to us is absolutely important.

They go for a restaurant and gambling, a show and gambling, a health spa and gambling, a conference and gambling and so on. So consequently, what we want to carefully do is lay out the plan that, in fact, the activities that generate the energy, the restaurants, the bars, the theaters, the pre-function rooms for the ballrooms, are in close proximity to the gaming floor. If not right next to it.

So consequently it is a fine line between defining energy and defining sound. We all know that sound creates a buzz, an activity. Yet sound that is too loud, or sound that is obnoxious, doesn't.

The fire and life safety system of course has to do with smoke exhaust, smoke management, air pressurization, fire ratings, stair tower regulations, pressurization of stairs and heights of buildings, as well as wet systems, deluge or sprinkler systems. One of the things we have found is that we do want to use a dual smoke detector system. We would prefer that two smoke detectors go off rather than one.

As another part of the systems that is included in this particular project, has to do with the security of the porte-cochere area and how people enter this particular project. In the Philippines, they will not let you enter with your own baggage. There is your own security check similar to an airport to go to one of these projects.

So basically this particular project was a concrete building and the concrete building had some steel roofs to it over the long spans. Now this might look like it's at grade. The building is really not so what we did was, we started the building at the basement level but the basement was at grade because it was a landfill site and then we built the grade through the parking lots, porte-cocheres and the like, up to in fact create the building.

The outside of the building was created by aluminum panels and plaster wall systems, created with curtain wall, created with metal roofing and metal column covers. It was created with some window walls as well. And it was consistent in its design from the garage to the tower to the podium.

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