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HBG Design behind Michigan’s six-storey Aquadome inspired by the sun’s path across the sky

by Megan Whitby | 12 Sep 2022

Hospitality and entertainment design firm HBG Design is helming the design of Michigan's new Gun Lake Casino Resort Aquadome – a glass-roofed, climate-controlled, indoor landscaped pool and event centre atrium environment.

The six-storey, 32,000sq ft Aquadome is part of a US$300m (£259.1m, €298.4m) site-wide overhaul of the casino. The investment is also funding the construction of a 252-room hotel and further entertainment amenities.

“The Aquadome is sure to become a must-see feature,” said Paul Bell, AIA, principal at HBG Design.

“A resort pool by day and performance complex by night, the glass-enclosed circular structure will generate an immense sense of energy inside and out, while offering a variety of complementary entertainment and gathering opportunities for resort guests and entertainment-seekers.”

With a balmy 82℉ (27.7°C) year-round interior climate, the Aquadome will be home to three pools (family, age 21 and over and VIP), pool cabanas, an outdoor patio with a fireplace, a swim-up bar, semi-private nooks wrapped around a central lawn and bars and concessions.

The building’s glass roof structure will be sculpted and modelled by the sun’s daily path across the site and provide a window to the sky throughout the seasons.

HBG Design says the roof’s multi-layered composition has been designed for function and efficiency.

“The targeted high-performance glazing and the atrium’s space frame structure will combine to create the distinguishing sloped oval shape that maximises and filters natural light from solstice to solstice,” says Thor Harland, lead architectural designer at HBG Design.

“From there, the base structure will be a mix of materiality that accommodates the variety of amenities within.”

Offering year-round entertainment, the interior Aquadome space will hold an immersive multi-level landscaped pool environment.

The Aquadome will also transform into a concert venue, banquet centre and entertainment venue capable of hosting large events with a 2,400-person capacity. Seating will be able to be configured around water features in a variety of arrangements.

Functional and decorative acoustical panelling will be integrated aesthetically into the design to enhance and regulate sound during live performances.

Plus, a temporary yet dramatic installation of flex acoustics will be suspended about 40 feet above the stage for further sound control, depending on the type of performance.

“Without question, the Aquadome’s design attributes will create a first-class destination resort and a highly unique entertainment experience,” said Gun Lake Casino CEO, Sal Semola.

“This is just the next step towards making our property the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest.”

Construction of the Aquadome and hotel began in late May 2022.

Gun Lake Casino Resort Aquadome  Michigan  HBG Design 
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company profile
Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
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