top
The ski lodge “Oberholz” faces a breathtaking mountain panorama in the Italian Dolomites.
© Peter Pichler Architecture
The ski lodge “Oberholz” faces a breathtaking mountain panorama in the Italian Dolomites.

Hardy Houses 11
Three times the view

Instead of enjoying the view from just one room, guests at the new ski lodge “Oberholz” in the Italian Dolomites have a choice of three, each of whose panorama windows faces a different mountain.
by Florian Heilmeyer | 3/14/2017

At first glance it looks as though for the new mountain restaurant Oberholz someone has pinched the VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron from Weil am Rhein and reconfigured it high up here in the Italian Dolomites. But first impressions are deceiving. Granted, the two architects Pavol Mikolajcak and Peter Pichler, who designed the lodge together after winning a competition, also play with the idea of the gable-roof building as the “primitive hut.” Here however they don’t stack anything up, but create three dining rooms from a single elongated structure by cleverly rotating it. Moreover, each room affords a different view of distant mountains.

The Oberholz is a joint design by Pavol Mikolajcak (Czech Republic) and Peter Pichler (Italy), basically triples this panorama.
© Peter Pichler Architecture
The Oberholz is a joint design by Pavol Mikolajcak (Czech Republic) and Peter Pichler (Italy), basically triples this panorama.

The design, the architects note, should be seen as a “felled tree,” whose back end with the functional rooms and kitchen is slightly buried in the mountainside. If this were the trunk that “connects the building with the landscape,” they continue, the three dining areas would be the branches. And to reinforce these associations among guests who haven’t read the introductory text, the Oberholz was additionally fitted out with plenty of wood from regional trees. The exterior façade, for example, is made of dark larch panels, the furniture is oak and the striking, room-defining rib load-bearing structure in the interior is made of light spruce.

LIke in a “felled tree”: The open rib load-bearing structure made of local spruce.
© Peter Pichler Architecture
LIke in a “felled tree”: The open rib load-bearing structure made of local spruce.

In design terms, this open supporting structure is the uncontested protagonist of the interior. The ribs dramatically underscore the gentle rotation of the three dining rooms extending from the joint area in front of the bar. The huge windows in the gable walls are the icing on the cake, as it were, of the interior composition. And if you were that way inclined, instead of a felled tree you could well imagine the skeleton of a strange, three-headed fish or snake, in whose belly you seem to find yourself. Each guest must decide for him or herself which association best accompanies the tasty regional specialties on offer by head chef Franz and his team. Incidentally, there is also a large outside terrace in front of the bar, which gently nestles into the curve of the building and where guests can enjoy the mountain panorama with no rotation at all.  

The outside terrace offers an Alpine panorama straight up, no twist.
© Peter Pichler Architecture
The outside terrace offers an Alpine panorama straight up, no twist.
Floor plan of the upper story: The rooms for technical equipment and the kitchen were slightly sunk into the mountainside.
© Peter Pichler Architecture
Floor plan of the upper story: The rooms for technical equipment and the kitchen were slightly sunk into the mountainside.
Glass gable wall: The three dining rooms each face a different peak.
© Peter Pichler Architecture
Glass gable wall: The three dining rooms each face a different peak.