BOLZANO – Milan-based firm Peter Pichler Architecture and local architect Pavol Mikolajcak have designed a restaurant and lounge for visitors to the Obereggen ski resort at an altitude 2000 m, deep in the Italian Dolomites. The project – a mountain hut that cantilevers over the steep terrain of the slopes – was commissioned as a winning competition entry as recently as 2015 and completed in December 2016.
The hut’s form is symbiotic with the snowy setting, appearing to grow organically from the mountain face before splitting into three branches – intended to resemble those of a fallen tree – that protrude from the landscape. The architects describe the project’s respectful likeness to the area’s existing buildings: ‘We wanted a completely new and contemporary interpretation of the classic mountain hut structure.
The geometry starts with the typical pitched roof but the three branches divide the space internally. Where the sloped roof becomes a wall, it creates these “pocket” spaces for intimacy.’ The trio of branches is capped with full-height glazing and each one looks out towards each of the three most important mountains in the range.
The entire project is constructed from locally sourced timbers; the structural elements and the interior are built from untreated spruce, the façade in grey larch and the furniture in oak. ‘All of the huts in the area are constructed in wood, so we absolutely wanted to use wood ourselves to keep this tradition,’ the architects explain. ‘Keeping the internal ribbed structure exposed amplifies the organic geometry and perception of space, as well as showing the natural beauty and logic of the construction.’
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