Silvretta House Bielerhöhe, Gaschurn (AT)

The “Silvretta-Alpenstrasse” road culminates upon Bielerhöhe – a location where the “Vorarlberger IIlwerke” waterworks dams up a reservoir. This tremendous intervention and the impressive alpine landscape together attract numerous tourists for whom a self-service restaurant was set up at sea level. Replacing a hotel complex from the 1950s, the slightly set-off construction rises on a terrace shelf, exposed to the south, at 2,040 m above sea level. It serves as a restaurant and 28-bed hotel, a street-cleaning base and a classical pass hospice where travelers find shelter and protection.
The long body shell swings back and follows the contour lines, such that the hotel rooms unfold to the alpine panorama. To the north, a reinforced-concrete wall shields the structure, offering space for a cascade stairway and loft-like room access in the long-drawn intermediate zone toward the hotel section. To the east, the concrete wall thrusts out beyond the volumes and intersects with a bevy of house-high leaning solar collectors. The main entrance refers to the axis of the dam’s coping.
Under two hotel stories, the ground floor is occupied by a restaurant, kitchen and conference room. Above a sturdy natural stone plinth raises the house wall, smooth and white. A wooden pitched roof tops the classically three-piece construction. The rear side of exposed concrete with its steel escape stairs gives a backstage feeling. With this meticulous and robust work, the designers continue from a point defining the position of independent building in the Alps.

Client: Vorarlberger Illwerke AG
Location: A-6793 Gaschurn-Partenen
Architecture: Much Untertrifaller and Much Untertrifaller sen., Gerhard Hörburger
Competition: 1990
Construction: 1991-1992
Capacity: 28 beds

photos: © Bruno Klomfar, © Adolf Bereuter