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. The building was once defined but its solid and static position within the landscape, thanks to its stone base and timber upper levels, but it has 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.
The Swiss have traditionally created a landscape of signage and so 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. The main entrance is formed of the largest such triangle, with a stencil font used to capture the building’s military past. This text is continued around the windows as part of the interior design to help map out the surrounding mountains and encourage the occupants to engage with their surroundings and treat the surrounding topology like an exhibition.