If you have ever been to a ski resort (something we take for granted if you are passionate about white sports like us), you will know that each of its details and corners are expressly built to guarantee the functionality and usefulness of the ski. space. This, in fact, is essential considering the large influx of people who end up passing through and the need for organization. We recently saw in an article which were the most glamorous ski resorts, but in today's article we want to place special emphasis on architecture, extolling the creativity and ingenuity of great designers and architects who have managed to unify aesthetically each element that makes up these buildings, both in tourist complexes and in private residences.
IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF BUILDING DESIGN IN A STATION
Have you ever wondered what designing a station should be like? Where to start? What elements should we take into account? At Uller we are not expert architects, nor even dry architects, but the creativity behind many of the ski resorts we have been to has really caught our attention. Putting those people who do belong to the union on notice, do not be scared if we mix architecture with interior design, and vice versa. Today we seek to talk about everything from the point of view of the common skier who is surprised when he enters the material collection point, the general information center, the restaurant at the foot of the slopes or the bathrooms themselves.
- LOCATION AND RELIEF
It is not surprising that the first thing that comes to mind is that ski resorts have a complex orography . The natural thing is to find the establishments at the foot of the slopes, where we appreciate a probably flatter terrain. Here, the construction of a building usually entails little adaptation to the terrain, since the surface does not present abrupt inclinations. But throughout this article you will see that there are stations that, even without having large flat spaces on which to build, have not wanted to miss the opportunity to build (even if that means that the building in question is literally embedded in the side of a mountain as would a crustacean). The terrain is, therefore, something vital to take into account in the architecture of a ski resort, and you do not always have that "blank canvas" on which to build.
Another point to consider is the sound. A ski resort, without getting into dimensions or measuring its capacity to receive skiers, are usually silent areas due to the property of the snow. As we saw in the article on snow, when the flakes are superimposed on top of each other on the earth's surface (which is what ends up happening in ski resorts) a "cushion" is created that muffles the noise. So what is the skier looking for after accustoming his ear to that silence? Well, no noise, we already tell you. When entering a closed place, there are many designers of these spaces who use sound-absorbing materials, upholstering sofas and chairs or using a carpet to cover the floor indoors. In this way, it is also possible to assuage the constant noise of skis crashing, steps of boots and material that seem so familiar to us as soon as the season begins.
- RESISTANT MATERIALS
The choice of materials to design these spaces inside also takes into account the constant wear and tear of common areas, especially in places such as material collection points or changing rooms. It is about combining aesthetics and practicality, reinforcing some areas where constant blows are expected due to the material we use for skiing.
Finally, we cannot forget one of the most important factors to take into account in the interior design of these establishments: lighting. Whether we find a sunny or cloudy day, the snow causes a bounce effect in the light; Hence, they are usually areas where cold colors will prevail over warm ones. What does this mean? That generally when skiing we accustom our eyes to a more strident and artificial light power (cold tones) than walking around the city (warm tones) and, although we take care of our eyes thanks to the high quality of ski goggles from Uller, arriving at a closed establishment cannot exhaust you more than what the outside already does. In this way, interior ambient lighting is usually sought in which our eyes can rest after a long day of skiing, but without failing to take advantage of the views that are usually found in this type of landscape.
SOME OF THE MOST ARCHITECTURAL MOUNTAIN BUILDINGS
After having seen the key points that both architects and designers look at when creating a station and their respective spaces, let's see how they have played with these elements in real examples of constructions on the mountain .
- “CHESA FUTURA”, BY NORMAN FOSTER
This architectural work is located in St. Moritz, a tourist resort in the Swiss Engadine Valley. It is a slightly different building from what Norman Foster has accustomed us to. This famous British architect designed it in the year 2000 but it was not built until four years later, and it served as his and his family's private residence during the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only the plans are really amazing, but also the views of the station.
- “BERGISEL SKI JUMP” BY ZAHA HADID
Innsbruk is the city in Austria where the studio of the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid decided to build the building known as “Bergisel Ski Jump” between 1999 and 2002. This ski jumping track is located specifically on the Bergisel mountain, and was part of a renovation project for the Olympic facilities, replacing the previous one built in 1927 and which no longer met the necessary conditions. It consists of a mixture of a tower and a bridge, with a 90-meter descent in the form of a ramp. With several spaces, this building has a viewpoint and a restaurant area from which tourists can enjoy the amazing views. It is currently used as a sports meeting point and tourist center.
- “BACHLEDKA SUMMIT FACILITIES”, BY COMPASS ARCHITEKTI
The architecture studio Compass Architekti was commissioned to build this attractive complex in Bachledova Dolina, Slovakia, in 2019. It has become one of the best examples of adaptation to the landscape, receiving up to 6,000 visitors a day. As the group of architects affirms, it is a building embedded in the mountainside, and the only visible façade is glass. This allows spectacular light to enter the space, and ensures impressive views for all visitors.
A SKI SLOPE: THE BEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD
As you hear it! The award for the best building in the world in 2021, according to the World Architecture Festival, is a recycling and leisure complex in Copenhagen (Denmark) that has a synthetic grass ski slope, as well as other leisure options such as a wall of climbing, crossfit area and a hiking trail. It has been designed by the architectural studio called Bjarke Ingels Groupin, and was inaugurated in 2017, replacing the old incineration plant.
At Uller we wanted to end this article with a construction like this because it undoubtedly raises the question that a ski slope is not only open in cold weather. The truth is that this track is open all year round, in such a way that you can ski on snow or on the grass itself. It receives the name of "Copenhill" and has 41 thousand square meters, allowing up to a total of 100 skiers at the same time. As if that were not enough, those people willing to slide down this innovative slope do not need to bring the material, as they can be rented in the building itself, and even hire ski and snow classes! The jury in charge of deliberating the result took into account not only the message of sustainability and ecology that this architectural work launches, but also the enormous fun that the public can enjoy.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- WHAT ARE THE MAIN ELEMENTS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHEN DESIGNING A SKI RESORT?
As we have seen in this article, there are many design elements that are taken into account to create a ski resort. At Uller we have emphasized four: the relief of the mountain, the sound, the lighting and the choice of resistant materials.
- ZAHA HADID DESIGNED A SKI RESORT?
Zaha Hadid's architecture studio was not exactly in charge of designing a ski resort, but a tourist and sports complex in 1999 that thousands and thousands of visitors enjoy each year. It is a building that receives the name of "Bergisel Ski Jump" and is located on the Bergisel mountain, as its name indicates, in Austria. This architectural work has gained its recognition above all for the 90-meter-long slope with a 35-degree inclination that marks the descent from the top to the foot of the mountain. It is precisely at the top of the building where you can enjoy a viewpoint whose views will leave you amazed.
- WHAT IS THE BEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD?
The WAF (World Architecture Festival) has awarded a ski resort as the best building in the world in 2021. It is a building called Copenhill, and it is a recycling plant as well as a leisure center, which includes a ski slope, a climbing wall, a hiking trail, etc. It has been awarded, not only for its environmental work as a symbol of the fight against climate change, but also for its sociocultural and sports work.