On the summit: Herzog & de Meuron complete mountain-top build in Switzerland
Chäserrugg, the easternmost of the seven peaks that comprise Switzerland’s Churfirsten Massif, is home to acclaimed architectural practice Herzog & de Meuron’s latest project.
A popular restaurant and cable car station for holidaymakers in the region since 1972, the original structure was never meant to house a public space, or stand the test of time. In fact, it was originally built as a temporary accommodation unit for construction workers. This was demolished to make way for Herzog & de Meuron’s new build, which incorporated the original concrete and steel foundation with a brand new facade.
’We used wood in order to develop a language and materiality that suits the Toggenburg region,’ explains Christine Binswanger, senior partner in charge, ’but without resorting to the usual Alpine cliches.’
The architectural practice’s talent for referencing local heritage without resorting to pastiche is well documented and celebrated the world over; as most recently seen in their new Bordeaux stadium.
’The project was executed by craftspeople from the valley,’ explains Binswanger of Chäserrugg. ’Because local companies were involved, those working on the project were committed heart and soul, making sustainable use of resources possible.’
Sheltered beneath a large sloping roof, the restaurant runs along one side of the structure, making the most of the panoramic Alpine views with three (almost) floor-to-ceiling glazed windows. Sitting perpendicular is the station, connected to the restaurant by a large roofed area.
Although this is a small project compared to some of the Swiss architecture team’s usual feats, it nevertheless remains a shining example of their skill and vision.