Viewing, feeling, studying – Swiss architects discover The Chedi Andermatt
It’s already almost like a class reunion. The annual Andermatt Swiss Alps architects meeting. Over 30 architects are involved in the tourism project alone, and other interested architects were cordially invited to this year’s meeting, already the sixth. Last Wednesday, as every year, exchange among the specialists was the prime goal, but not the only one. No, the focus of interest this year was definitely a unique piece of architecture – The Chedi Andermatt. The host Ihab Morgan, Head of Destination Planning at Andermatt Swiss Alps AG, affirms this: “The interest was enormous. We had a record number of attendees.” Or, expressed in terms of numbers: Over 40 architects from throughout Switzerland travelled to the meeting in the new 5-star deluxe hotel The Chedi Andermatt.
This one-of-a-kind hotel was designed by Denniston International Architects & Planners Ltd. from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Uri architecture office Germann & Achermann AG, with Marino Epp, was responsible for the local execution of the project. Before the hotel tour began, the Altdorfer pointed out to the audience of specialists that the greatest challenge of the construction project was a highly characteristic element of the building – the fireplaces, of which there are over 200 in the hotel: “All the fireplaces, both gas- and wood-fired, have undergone numerous comprehensive tests with the fire protection authorities of the Canton of Uri.”
Touching is allowed
The guided tour which followed showed that the various architectural challenges had indeed been skilfully mastered. On this tour, a sign saying “please don’t touch” certainly would have disappointed the architects. The reason is simple: The diversity of materials used in The Chedi Andermatt cry out to be touched. Only through tactile sensation can the architects gain a complete feeling for the materials. They looked at everything carefully, touched, studied and of course they discussed. Michel Tscherry of CAS Architects had only words of praise for the deluxe suite: “This room is impressively furnished and makes me feel good as a guest.” He continues: “But overall, for me personally, I miss somewhat a clear direction”. With this the building economist was referring to the many transitions between materials, some of which he finds “a bit wild”. His colleague René Chappuis was particularly impressed with the planning: “The planning team did an outstanding job here. No detail was left to chance. A very special highlight is the lighting in the hotel corridor; the lamps project a floral pattern on the walls – just a detail, but precisely such things make a difference in the overall impression”.
Gstaad goes Andermatt
Building in the mountains is also a specialty of Hauswirth Architects. This office, based in Gstaad, has designed several chalets for the project and is currently managing the construction of a hotel in Gstaad. “That’s why this tour is doubly exciting for me”, explains Jacqueline Allen. The architect places great value on clearly recognizable style. She was especially impressed by the lobby of The Chedi Andermatt. All the details are beautifully coordinated: “So much is happening there. The interplay of the multiple materials is unbelievably exciting for us as architects.”
Stylish and creative solutions are also the credo of the design office OOS. In this regard, two rooms of the hotel complex especially impressed Gonçalo Manteigas: the fitness studio and the private dining room. “Both rooms are very cohesively designed and many guests will certainly highly appreciate the opportunity to dine in private – a good idea and a successful solution.” The Zurich architect also finds the overall project successful: “Choosing wood as the main façade material was an important decision. I think the building is very successfully integrated into its village setting.”
The official opening of The Chedi Andermatt took place on 6 December 2013, after some four years of construction. During that time, Chedi miniatures offered a preview of the building and its surroundings. The man with the steady hand is Christian Oehrli, owner of Oehrli & Fricker Modellbau AG. “When I was commissioned to replicate The Chedi in miniature and set it within the surrounding village, at first I thought there was a mistake with the scale.” Since then, he has become convinced of the opposite. “The harmoniously designed 5-star superior hotel is dominant, yet at the same time it fits well into the village context. Inside the building, I am fascinated by the unique diversity of lamps. I feel good here as a guest.”
The group then arrived at the ski bar, where the architectural impressions were followed by a tantalizing treat from the kitchen, just before the trip home. Whether and which ideas gained during the tour were carried back remains the secret of each of the architects.
Write new comment
Please fill in all the fields marked with *.