SUSHI & STRUDEL AT HIGH ALTITUDE 

At Gütsch restaurant, suspended at 2300 meters above the Urserental valley, you feel on top of the world.

And you can choose between Japanese cuisine and the zero-kilometer food experience

We have accomplished several alpine projects, but Gütsch is the highest so far!” says architect Christina Seilern, talking about his latest work: a restaurant that defies the law of gravity in the Andermatt ski-resort of the German-speaking Switzerland. “I love the mountains: I grew up in the Swiss Alps” recalls Christina, who now lives and works in London, where she founded her creative practice studio Seilern Architects.  “As a child, my father would often send me to fetch fresh milk up in the ‘hameau’ (alpine village), where cows were brought to graze in the summer: only few small houses clinging to the mountainside. That was my inspiration for this project”.

In fact, though a contemporary building, Gütsch, shows a clear link with the Alpine hameau tradition, both for the stone facades and for the elongated columns supporting the balconies, which give the structure a dramatic verticality: “We wanted the building to grow from its landscape and look as if it were suspended in space”, says the architect. “It’s like being on top of the world”.

Gütsch is home to two different restaurants, The Japanese, by the Cheti, and the Gourmet, dedicated to the local alpine cuisine, by Neff. That’s why the structure includes two separate volumes for each restaurant, yet with a combined volume for the kitchen and the back-of-house. Each restaurant has its own entrance, kitchen and dining room. As for the interiors, The Japanese features a combination of steamed and roughened pine wood paneling, that recreates the atmosphere of a Japanese tea room; while for Gourmet Sailern designed a highly functional furniture and a bar made in colorful ‘terrazzo veneziano’. Both restaurants share large bright windows and a wooden terrace, resembling  a trampoline over the impressive alpine scenario.

“I am particularly happy with the boldness of the structure” confides the architect “The columns below the balconies, the lighting from the large windows, the way the structure reacts to the extreme weather.  All these elements add value to the presence of the building”.

 

By Laura Ragazzola

Photography by David Zanardi