One of Sweden’s largest underground military sites from the Cold War is hidden near the UNESCO World Heritage coastline in the Gulf of Bothnia. The fortress at Hemsö has been opened up for visitors by the governmental agency Statens fastighetsverk, but the site needed some welcoming public spaces. Sweco Architects was chosen to create a space using natural materials, which play a star role in the design of a new restaurant at the site.
The restaurant’s pared back style is inspired by Cold War era design and modern stealth aircrafts. The main volume is hidden within the sparsely forested hillside and features tilted angled roofs. The large glass surfaces welcome visitors as they approach the restaurant and allow panoramic views over the Gulf of Bothnia, the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea.
Visitors reach the restaurant via a long winding path, this sense of nature connection was important to the architects and influenced their choice of materials. “Since the building is supposed to be close to the nature, wood is a natural choice, a modern as well as traditional material in Sweden”.
The façade and the supporting structure of glulam is manufactured from spruce trees. In the dining area the interior walls are covered with wood panel of spruce and the rear wall of the restaurant and some interior barriers are covered with OSB boards. The ceilings and sound-absorbing panels are made of Träullit plates, a mixture of made of wool, wood from spruce, and cement. On the floors there are ceramic tiles and an ash wood parquet floor. The rear part of the building, containing storage and kitchen, rests between the cliffs and is made of concrete elements.