Creating Luxury Hotels with Lunawood Thermowood

Cagla Makara

Architect, Baraka Architects

Turkey is known for its luxury hotels, but few people know how much preparation and how many stakeholders there are behind the scenes to make a hotel project a success. The young and dynamic architecture office Baraka is specialised in the design of large hotel projects, where Lunawood Thermowood products have also been widely used. Co-founded by Abdurrahman Çekim and Sevilay Uğur Çekim in Kuzguncuk in 2009, Baraka designs architectural projects for housing, hotels, offices and logistics centres, and they have won several awards in international competitions. Lunawood interviewed one of the office’s eminent young architects, Ms Cagla Makara, to learn about the processes behind these giant projects. Makara’s handprint can be seen in one of the most renowned hotels, 50 km from the Antalya city, the Maxx Royal Kemer.

Maxx Roya Kemer  hotel is a luxury resort in every detail



Building luxury hotels with tight deadlines sets high requirements for all the stakeholders involved, including the building material suppliers. Cagla’s requirements for all suppliers are clear. Scale, cost, quality, accessibility and deliverability along with the schedule are the key factors in each project. A fast schedule requires fast production. Fast production means delivering products to the site faster than the lead-time of the whole manufacturing process in order to satisfy customers, without compromising on quality. This can be achieved with standardized processes and modularised product structures,’ she says.

When building the Maxx Royal Kemer hotel, 35 truckloads of Thermowood from Lunawood were delivered to the construction site for the exterior cladding, sun shutters and railings. This significant amount of Thermowood makes it one of the biggest buildings in the world with an entire Thermowood façade.

The resort embraces the rural  landscape



The Maxx Royal Kemer hotel is very successful example of combining beautiful aesthetics and materials with great usability. In Antalya, the hot and humid climate is very demanding for wood materials. Another major challenge for Baraka architects was the location of the hotel, on a steep, wooded slope, which set a tight framework for building design.

‘Although such restrictions might initially seem like disadvantages, they actually opened up the path for the unique character of this project. Therefore, instead of trying to resist and overcome these geographical and structural inputs, we adopted an approach to embrace and merge in with the existing topography. We wanted to become one with it instead of standing out. That is a very important issue, which we are proud of in this project,” she comments.

Cagla says the most prominent feature of the project area and the environment is the way it absorbs, conceals and holds back whatever it bears inside, instead of revealing it.

‘The main focus in this zone was placed on “patching”. That is to say, the construction was built in a terrace on the slope. The inherent aspects of the zone, i.e. natural stone and wood, have been integrated into the construction to allow a seamless mix with the colours and elements of the slope over time. The regular and irregular wooden elements surrounding the 3D envelope-shaped structure provide great advantages for the prevailing climate conditions. Aesthetics is another important factor, and the Thermowood elements form a natural and beautiful pattern.

‘Instead of creating an attractive landscape, the plan was to embrace the rural landscape with its hills, surrounding trees and the remains of the previous building on the site. Attention needed to be focused on the choice of materials to ensure the mix with nature and to increase the strong structural effect,’ Cagla says.

Natural greenery and brown tones of Thermowood naturally combine in the resort



At the Maxx Royal Kemer, the dominant construction elements that identify the character of the main building mass are the Thermowood elements, which are used as sun shutters, cladding and railings. The wooden profiles, surrounding the building like a thin layer of netting, are designed to define a new relationship with the dense flora. Cagla says that Thermowood was the right choice, as the team wanted to use natural wood material that was made from the earth and that shows traces of nature. Lunawood Thermowood was selected for this major project because the scale, price, quality, accessibility and deliverability were in line with the requirements. ‘Lunawood delivered the materials faster than the lead-time of the manufacturing process without compromising on quality. That’s what I appreciate in Lunawood Thermowood,’ Carla says in summary.

The suites are finished with Lunawood solar shades to protect the windows from heat and to offer privacy 



Concrete has been the main material for buildings in Turkey for a long time, but the trend appears to be shifting gradually towards alternative materials, like wood and steel. ‘The awareness of the importance of using renewable materials in all areas of life, including construction and architecture, is growing in Turkey. Wood is a renewable material and uses less energy and resources compared to many other building materials,’ Cagla says. She believes that the wood industry has a promising economic future in Turkey, in line with social and environmental benefits the country will reap.

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