Architecture

Striking aluminum restaurant opens atop 2650-meter Swiss Alp

The restaurant's most distinct feature is undoubtedly its scaly anodized aluminum shell (Photo: Scherrer)
The restaurant's most distinct feature is undoubtedly its scaly anodized aluminum shell (Photo: Scherrer)
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The restaurant's most distinct feature is undoubtedly its scaly anodized aluminum shell (Photo: Scherrer)
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The restaurant's most distinct feature is undoubtedly its scaly anodized aluminum shell (Photo: Scherrer)
The restaurant is built 2650 meters (8700 ft) up atop the Arosa Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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The restaurant is built 2650 meters (8700 ft) up atop the Arosa Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The restaurant's most distinct feature is undoubtedly its scaly anodized aluminum shell (Photo: Scherrer)
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The restaurant's most distinct feature is undoubtedly its scaly anodized aluminum shell (Photo: Scherrer)
A concept sketch of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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A concept sketch of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Scherrer)
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The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Scherrer)
The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
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The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Scherrer)
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The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Scherrer)
Design plans of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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Design plans of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
Design plans of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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Design plans of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
Design drawings of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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Design drawings of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
Design drawings of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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Design drawings of the restaurant (Photo: Tilla Theus)
A pre-construction mock-up of the interior (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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A pre-construction mock-up of the interior (Photo: Tilla Theus)
A pre-construction model of the restaurant and summit (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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A pre-construction model of the restaurant and summit (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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The summit restauarent from the air (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Tilla Theus)
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The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Tilla Theus)
The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
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The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Scherrer)
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The aluminum facade resembles a scaly metal skin (Photo: Scherrer)
The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
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The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
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The aluminum shell being fitted (Photo: Scherrer)
The restaurant at night (Photo: Scherrer)
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The restaurant at night (Photo: Scherrer)
Summit restaurant interior
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Summit restaurant interior

How do you build a restaurant at the top of a mountain? Quickly, and from anodized aluminum and other lightweight materials, apparently, if the newly-opened Gipfelrestaurant (summit restaurant) 2650 meters (8700 ft) up atop the Arosa Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps is anything to go by.

The irregular hexagon restaurant, designed by Swiss architect Tilla Theus, affords its 220 seats 360° views of some 400 surrounding summits (though it's claimed 2000 can be seen from the top of the Weisshorn given ideal conditions). The restaurant's most distinct feature is undoubtedly its scaly anodized aluminum shell by facade specialists Scherrer. Tilal Theus claims its appearance allows it to fit in with the landscape, particularly the color of the rock.

Summit restaurant interior
Summit restaurant interior

Inside (which is surprisingly large) the architect has gone for warm, natural materials including pine ceilings and rubber floors.

A prefabricate timber structure allowed for rapid construction, and cunningly allowed building materials to be transported by the existing gondola cable car system that serves the Weisshorn.

The restaurant at night (Photo: Scherrer)
The restaurant at night (Photo: Scherrer)

The Gipfelrestaurant also provides overnight accommodation, which is handy for any paragliders who may be persuaded that a warm bed is a more sensible course of action than a pitch-dark descent after a skinful of absinthe.

Sources: Tilla Theus, Scherrer

3 comments
Matteo Milani
This building is horrible. How could they put such a monster in the contest of the Swiss Alps? I hope the Swiss will demolIsh it immediately. Nobody that loves the Alps will ever appreciate this kind of architecture. It simply doesn't fit in the environment.
Doc Rock
Firstly, in response to Mr Milani's comment.. look, It's so white that maybe nobody will see it, although I agree that at the top of theAlps, a nice wooden cabin style structure would be more fitting, although the article hinted that it would take too long, due to the cold and thin atmosphere.. As regards that.. I suppose that the building will come with health warnings for the patrons.. I mean, 8700 feet above sea level? And.. how to even *get* there? Perhaps it's NOMB, but do the proprietors even expect to break even?
Rob Grant
In response to Mr Milani's comment, I would suggest that progress takes many forms and if this is so horrible, why is it a credible tourist stop ? In response to Doc Roc, A nice wooden cabin style shows a regressive crystallized attitude to architecture. Maybe the Swiss (of which I am a citizen) want to be seen as a modern progressive people who are willing to drop the façade of chocolate box and cuckoo clock imagery and embrace the 21st century. This building and enterprise shows daring and a practical solution to keeping the tourist industry alive and well in this region. From Arosa village a cable car can transport 600 people per hour to the restaurant. http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/weisshorn-free-cable-car-in-summer.html
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