How do you build a restaurant 8,700 feet above sea level in the in the Swiss Alps? And what building materials are light and durable enough to brave the winter in the Alps? Swiss architecture firm Tilla Theus confronted these questions when designing the prefabricated Neubau Gipfelrestaurant (New Summit Restaurant) on top of the Weisshorn in Arosa, Switzerland.
Tilla Theus modeled the design of the Gipfelrestaurant after the topography that makes up the mountain. The shell of the building is made up of anodized aluminum scales, which were manufactured by façade specialists Scherrer. Tilla Theus suggests that the skin of the building allows the building’s exterior to fit naturally into the rocks that make up the summit of Weisshorn. The building’s irregular hexagonal shape also helps it fit into the summit’s tight footprint.
The construction of the restaurant was strategically planned so that all materials could be transported up the gondola. Materials were chosen based on size and weight. The structure was constructed from prefabricated timber, which was loaded on the existing cable car system and allowed for rapid construction. The anodized aluminum was then quickly laid over a waterproof exterior structure to protect the building from the Alpine conditions.
The interior material is much warmer than the exterior skin. The restaurant exudes the warmth and color of a mountain lodge, with the use of warm woods and dark carpets. The 220-seat restaurant has 360-degree views of the Swiss Alps during perfect conditions. Next time you are in the canton of Graubunden in eastern Switzerland, stop up and see the Gipfelrestaurant on top of Weisshorn!