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Studio Seilern completes two restaurants 2,300 metres up Swiss mountain

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The £5.8 million restaurant complex on Mount Gütsch has a stone-clad CNC structure which draws on local vernacular forms

Designed by London-based Studio Seilern Architects, the 860m² complex, sited at 2,362 metres above sea level, houses two restaurants, The Gütsch by Markus Neff and The Japanese by The Chedi Andermatt.

The base of the structure consists of concrete foundations with a prefabricated CNC timber structure above. Given the complex construction logistics necessary due to the location, with its extremes of weather, he building was constructed over two summer seasons, with helicopters used to transfer some of the materials to site.

Ssa gutsch (c) roland halbe 094 pp

Ssa gutsch (c) roland halbe 094 pp

The building is clad in local stone, with its forms and silhouette intended to give the appearance of a contemporary Swiss ’hameau’ or hamlet. Along the front of the main structure, a series of steel columns support several restaurant terraces.

Internally, the spaces have exposed timber beams and timber-panelled walls, with open fireplaces and large panoramic windows offering views out to the Gotthard mountains and valley of Andermatt.

Ssa gutsch (c) ssa site04

Ssa gutsch (c) ssa site04

The restaurant complex is split into three volumes: the Japanese restaurant with 44 seats indoors and 45 on its terrace; the Gütsch restaurant with 66 seats indoors and 145 on its two terraces; and the kitchen, which with amenity spaces and storage, sits at basement level. 

Last year Studio Seilern completed a 700-seat concert hall in the village of Andermatt which sits below the restaurant. This was inaugurated by the Berlin Philharmonic in June 2019.

Ssa gutsch (c) roland halbe 080

Ssa gutsch (c) roland halbe 080

Architect’s view

The mass studies took inspiration from the carved stone sculpture, Horta de Ebro by Manolo Valdés, and from vernacular Swiss Alpine villages, where pitched-roof houses sit against one another to form a cluster of stone walls and roofs nestled in a mountainous landscape.

The restaurant is made up of several pitched volumes sloping upwards with large windows opening up to the views beyond. It caters both for the aesthetic and climatic challenges of a unique site, and wide openings offer panoramic views over the valley of Andermatt.

The large balconies were attached to the anchoring stone volumes, creating a sense of lightness, as if floating over the landscape. The idea was to create the same sensation of awe and excitement one gets when reaching the peak of a climb.

Ssa gutsch (c) roland halbe 002 pp

Ssa gutsch (c) roland halbe 002 pp

Due to the extreme weather conditions in winter, there is only a short timeframe in summer that allows for construction. This is in part due to the winter closure of the road which provides site access for delivery trucks. For this reason, the building is designed to be constructed in two summer seasons. In summer 2018 the basement concrete structure was poured allowing for a speedier construction of the prefabricated timber walls and beams above ground in 2019.

The use of stone at higher altitude is to deal with excessive wind, frost, ice and snow which required a building material of strength and natural ageing. We surveyed the local stone masonry walls built by the army over the years and wanted to adopt the same language, of a material sourced from the site.

On the interior, a combination of steamed and roughened pine wood panelling and plasterboard is used. The ceiling consists of glulam beams, which can take the high live loads of snow accumulation during the winter months. The bar of The Japanese consists of a reconstructed stone sculpture, giving it an appearance of massiveness. In contrast, the white steel chimney hangs lightly from the ceiling. 

Ssa gutschrest ground plan

Ssa gutschrest ground plan

Source: Studio Seilern Architects

Ground floor plan

Project data

Start on site Summer 2018
Completion December 2019
Gross internal floor area 860m²
Construction cost 7 million CHF (approximately £5.8 million)
Architect Studio Seilern Architects
Local architect Siebzehn13 Architekten AG
Client Andermatt Sedrun Sportsbahnen AG
Structural engineer Holzprojekt + IUB Engineering
Services engineer Qundqpunkt
Electrical engineer EWA
Building physics consultant MEP
Fire consultant Holzprojekt
Lighting design Viabizzuno
Kitchen planner Alig Grossküchen
Airtightness at 50pa 0.8m3/h.m2
Overall area-weighted u-value 0.2W/m2k

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