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The Austrian hydro power firm Verbund is planning the construction of a new mountain restaurant at 2250m above sea level. The same building is also to house the top terminal for the Reißeck incline railway, as well as information and display areas. The Viennese architects, Zechner & Zechner, have been chosen for the project, from among a field of international competitors.

The new top terminal has been interpreted as constructed landscape, which has developed naturally from the topography. The curving lower part of the station follows the contours of the surrounding landscape, and these are accentuated by their stone materiality. The roof encroaches on the building like a protective overhang of snow. Despite avoiding the usual visual language of alpine construction, this solution has produced a sensitive response to this unique location, and one which also captures the the client’s wish to present themselves as an ecological energy producer.

Arrival on the mountain is heralded by a sequence of different rooms. The ground floor, which is integrated into the slope and is closed to the outside world, is reminiscent of caves and tunnels, which intensifies the feeling of freedom when you emerge, or enter the restaurant, with its open design.

The exposed conditions at this site require a high proportion of prefabrication, as well as an optimum size of building element for transport and assembly. The selection of wood as the main construction material will allow a good balance between these constraints.

Heating and hot water will primarily be provided by solar thermal collectors, which will allow solar energy to provide a large proportion of the building’s power.


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