Foster+Partners Renovates Historic Kulm Eispavillon With Wooden-Truss Canopy In St Moritz

Foster+Partners completes the historic Kulm Eispavillon in St Moritz, Switzerland with wooden-truss cantilevering canopy, inspired by the Engadin tradition of woodcraft. Originally built in 1905, the new Kulm Eispavillon opened to the public at the end of January, which is conceived as a regeneration project -and set to reinstate Kulm Park as the social focus of this part of the resort by returning it to the community.

The Kulm Eispavillon played host to the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics but the building had been abandoned for many years, and had fallen into a state of extreme disrepair. 

Foster+Partners' new scheme revives the building back to its original state with the ice skating rink as the focus, also introducing a new club restaurant and sun terrace for visitors and the local Engadin community to enjoy. To expand the old eispavillon’s capacity to host events, a new multipurpose pavilion has been incorporated with links to the historic structure. 

The firm designed it as a mini-stadium, and it is set to be the focus of the annual calendar of sporting and cultural events including the medal ceremonies at the Ski World Championships to be held in St Moritz in February 2017, as well as music festivals and shows of classic cars.

The Kulm Eispavillon is located on the northern edge of the Davos Plaun, which forms an ice rink in the winter and a wide lawn for outdoors exhibitions and events in the summer, the new extension is a flexible structure that will provide a platform for a wide variety of activities throughout the year, from a sun terrace to a concert stage. A cantilevering canopy extends from the street edge to form a partially covered space, sheltered from rain and snow.  

The canopy is made of horizontal wooden slats which allow for views through to street level. The structure extends into a wall that curves around the northern corner of the site, terminating in a smaller sun canopy at the other end. 

This allows for views towards the skating rink and the surrounding mountains from the street, while protecting the site from the cold winds that blow into the valley.

Adjoining the new pavilion, the historic eispavillon has been regenerated, reinstating not just the architecture, but the historic spirit of the place – a celebration of skating, sport and sun. 

New restaurant and exhibition area are situated on the first level, showcasing various memorabilia that evoke the alpine tradition of the valley, so in that sense it is also a museum.  

Foster+Partners' refurbishment remains faithful to the original style of building, preserving the historic features, along with a sympathetically designed ‘Orangerie’ as an indoor-outdoor space with picturesque views of the valley. 

Facilities for skating and curling equipment hire is considered to accommodate in the future - an outdoor bar is placed on the lower level with direct access to the Davos Plaun.

''I approached this project not only as an architect, but as a sympathetic resident of St Moritz; to me it was all about bringing the historic structure and the Davos Plaun back to life, to recreate a space for the local community,'' said Lord Foster, Executive Chairman and Founder, Foster + Partners.

The restoration of the old eispavillon and the new extension seek to re-establish Kulm Park as the social focus of this part of the town, providing a new destination for visitors and residents of the Engadin valley alike,'' he added.

''The new Kulm Eispavillon will be at the heart of the sporting schedule of St Moritz, and will also provide a flexible space for a variety of outdoor events throughout the year, from music concerts to car exhibitions. Using the local tradition of wood, the entire ensemble is designed to be of the place, both in spirit and materials,'' Foster added.

Foster + Partners is currently working on a new luxury hotel and serviced apartments for Mecca and the firm was announced as the new designer of the Amravati Capitol Complex instead of Fumihiko Maki. 

Foster + Partners is also among the shortlist for UK's Holocaust Memorial and MIPIM Awards 2017Norman Foster is one of World Architecture Community's first Members (since 2007). 

Project facts

Architect: Foster + Partners
Collaborating Architect: Küchel Architects AG
Timber construction: Blumer - Lehmann AG 
Steel manufacturer: Pfister Metallbau AG
Stonework: EdilStone AG
Civil Engineer: EDY TOSCANO AG 
Builder: Nicol. Hartmann & Cie. AG 
Electrical installation: Arge Merz AG / Elektro RES AG
Heating and Ventilation: Hälg & Co. AG
Refrigeration plant: Kälte 3000 AG 
Roofing: Nani Gregor
Windows: Holzmanufaktur swiss AG

All images courtesy of Foster+Partners

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