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At 2300 meters (7500 feet) above sea level, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe. The location is especially popular with young and young-at-heart snowboarders. Along with its spectacular setting, the sports center there also scores high marks for its wide range of offerings, its modern furnishings, and its special architectonic accents.
New construction with special character
Thanks to its redesign for the jubilee year, the “Le Board” sports center now does justice its name: the shape is inspired by the sweeping lines of a snowboard – and in so doing, the sports complex blends harmoniously with the Alpine landscape. While its 17,000-square-meter (186,000-square-foot) interior leaves nothing to be desired – with modern training facilities, swimming pool, and a fun park as well as a wide range of bodybuilding, fitness and wellness offerings – Le Board’s roof provides a breathtaking view of the ski resort. The Parisian architectural firm contracted with the design, Dubuisson, developed a concept whose architecture reflects the identity of Val Thorens and gives the complex an unmistakable character. In the words of the architects themselves: “The project’s iconic architecture and the broad range of applications that it enables are emblematic of Val Thorens’ identity.”
Highly demanding inverted roof specifications
In view of the unique form of this multi-purpose building – modern and challenging in equal measure – the designers selected an inverted roof structure using JACKODUR® from JACKON by BEWI. One unusual feature here was that whereas the proven, robust and durable XPS material is usually installed on flat roofs, Le Board’s roof has a gradient to enable skiing, among other things. To that end, JACKON worked together with the specialized installation firm to develop pioneering solutions designed to adapt the sealing and laying of the inverted roof to the unusual requirements, thereby creating the prerequisites for the building’s wide-ranging applications – both in winter and in summer.
In all, the sophisticated roof structure used 5000 square meters (54,000 square feet) of 200-mm-thick (8-inch-thick) JACKODUR® KF 700 for the “snowboard” and 700 square meters (7,500 square feet) of 100-mm-thick (4-inch-thick) JACKODUR® Plus for the surrounding panoramic terraces. The implementation of the roof gradient with its sweeping shape posed a special challenge – one that the JACKON products addressed perfectly.
Suitable for extremely demanding specifications
Right from the start, it was clear that the inverted roof would have to withstand extremely harsh outdoor conditions with high snow loads, moisture and freezing temperatures – and that it would have to deliver its full insulation and sealing performance throughout the service life of the building. The engineering firm selected the appropriate thicknesses from the JACKODUR® assortment to ensure the required properties for this application. This project had another special feature in terms of the timing: because construction work was only possible during four months of the year, everyone had to maintain a tight schedule that placed high demands on efficient implementation. Moreover, any interruptions to normal business operations caused by construction work had to be kept to an absolute minimum. That’s why the architectural firm Dubuisson made consistent use of BIM-based digital planning along with closely timed, continuously monitored implementation schedules. This made it possible to satisfy all requirements, including those related to scheduling and implementation.
Time-saving and easy to install
The construction site manager of SMAC, the Issy-Les-Moulineaux-based construction firm that carried out the work, reports that the characteristic shape of the roof necessitated the use of two different types of membrane: “On the less pitched areas, we were able to produce a waterproof membrane by applying bucket loads of an especially high-strength asphalt at temperatures of over 200°C. This wasn’t possible on the steepest part, however, because the pitch wouldn’t allow it. Instead, we used a two-layer lining with reinforced waterproof membrane there.” The construction manager is enthusiastic about the ease with which the JACKODUR® boards can be installed. “They are intuitive and easy to lay. All you have to do is arrange the boards in an offset pattern where they abut one another. Their low weight makes them easy to handle.” The time-saving, single-layer installation proved particularly advantageous. Installers can also trim individual boards to fit as needed.
One of the main arguments in favor of JACKODUR®, especially with this project, is its extremely high compressive strength of up to 700 kPa. This made it possible to fulfill all of the demanding requirements associated with the use of the inverted roof for sports. The material also features good dimensional stability, moisture resistance and rot resistance, and is also extremely durable. The boards can be used without a vapor barrier, in direct contact with the underlying waterproof membrane, both with new construction and in renovation work. That’s why they are suitable for all types of buildings and compatible with an extremely wide range of membranes.
On-time completion for the anniversary
The construction site manager’s concluding statement speaks for itself: “The rapid installation enabled us to meet all deadlines.” As a result, Le Board was already fully operational for the 2022/2023 winter sports season – to the delight of Val Thorens’ visitors. The highpoint was a fabulous party, complete with a fireworks display, to mark the 50th anniversary of the sports center. It’s hard to imagine a greater success, insists Vincent Lalanne-Cloute, the manager of the tourist office: “With extraordinary architecture that highlights the distinctive snowboard culture of our destination, Val Thorens now has yet another unmistakable attraction. Consistently positive feedback from our guests confirms this – and now we’re glad as we look forward to the next 50 years.”
+49 (0) 5204 99 55 330