Wachthuus Restaurant & Ski Lodge – Switzerland
Perched above the village of Andermatt in Switzerland, the Wachthuus project sees the transformation of a former military hut into a new restaurant and ski lodge. True to the studio’s dedication to sustainable construction, the design sits within the retained structure of the former hut and reuses many of its original timber elements in inventive ways and with minimal steel fixings. Where new materials were implemented such as the stone fireplace and additional timber elements, materials were sourced from local villages around Andermatt.
The building was once defined by its solid and static position within the landscape thanks to its stone base and timber upper levels. The building has now been adapted to suit a more dynamic role on a busy ski slope. Wachthuus translates as ‘watch house’ – a place to look out from – and the site holds a psychological, if not geographical significance in that Andermatt (directly below), was for many years the centre of Swiss military strategy. This sense of the building as a place of observation has been retained with views out over the whole of Switzerland and central Europe beyond its borders. A lightweight ‘blade’ terrace has been added, teetering on the edge of the shifting gradient. This makes a dramatic gesture to skiers as they descend the mountain.
Within this region of the alps, villages adopted a landscape of signage and navigation. Produced by local craftsmen, exterior shutters and doors are adorned with a series of white triangles that are set on a red background, matching the colours of the Swiss flag. Stencilled text is continued around the windows as throughout the interior map out the enveloping mountains and encourage the occupants to engage with their surroundings and to discover the topology like an exhibition.