Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG


Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

Danish architects BIG seem to have a thing for skiing on rooftops and have designed some more buildings that double up as ski slopes, this time for a resort in Lapland.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

Visitors to the Koutalaki Ski Village in Levi will be able take an elevator up to the rooftops of the four accommodation blocks and ski back down.


The competition-winning buildings will surround and shelter a public square that can be used for ice skating and music performances.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

Cafes and bars will occupy the lower floors of the buildings, while the top floor of one block will offer panoramic views of the surrounding snow-covered landscape.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

You can also read about BIG's earlier proposals for a combined power plant and ski slope here, or see more stories about skating, skiing and sledging in our recent feature.

Here's some more information from BIG:

BIG Unveils A Ski Resort In Lapland

BIG wins an invited competition for a 47.000 m2 ski resort and recreational area in Levi.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

The future Ski Village will transform the existing Levi ski resort into a world class destination, offering top quality accommodation and leisure services for skiers of all levels and demands. The proximity to the Kittilä airport ensures easy access to the resort attracting international visitors to Levi village and the whole Lapland region.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

The Finland-based developer Kassiopeia Finland Oy is investing in its local region as it currently owns and operates Hotel Levi Panorama, Levi Summit Congress Center and Hotel K5 Levi and above and beyond has interests in developing the exquisite Koutalaki area.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

"BIG’s visionary approach of combining unique types of accommodation and amenities along with the leisure activities offered at the resort, left the jury in awe.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

BIG’s ambitious plan challenges traditional thinking and we believe that the collaboration between Kassiopeia Finland and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group will rise to the occasion." Jury, Kassiopeia Finland Oy.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

Located on a gentle slope, the existing Levi ski center provides the framework for the future Koutalaki Ski Village which is conceived as an extension of the summit and the existing cluster of buildings in Koutalaki.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

BIG proposes to create a series of buildings that radiate out from a central square and whose ends touch the ground to create four freestanding buildings that each provide access to the roof and allow the skiers to descend from the resort’s rooftop downhill in any direction.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

The soft curves of the undulating roofs of the four buildings create a visual continuity of the natural land­scape while lending the whole village the unique character of a skislope skyline that creates an inhabited mountain top.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

"The Koutalaki Ski Village is conceived as an extension of both the summit and the resort. Grown from the natural topography rather than dropped from the sky – the ar­chitecture extends the organic forms of natural landscape creating an inhabitable as well as skiable manmade mountain.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

As a result, our design for the Koutalaki Ski Village creates a new hybrid integrating distinct identities such as village and resort, shelter and openness, cozy intimacy and natural maj­esty, unique character and careful continuity – or simply - architecture and landscape." Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Partner, BIG.

Koutalaki Ski Village by BIG

The four build­ings arc around a central square to create a new bustling village plaza at the heart of the resort, which is sheltered from the wind yet open and inviting to the surrounding landscape.


The plaza allows ice skating and music events and is connected to a bowl like yard with cafés and bars created by the lower interior heights of the new buildings. The intimate atmosphere of the spaces created here contrasts the open views from the summit.


The whole resort area is connected through a network of paths that prioritizes skiers and pedestrians. Access to the roofs happens through central elevator cores allowing skiing down either towards the courtyard or the piste. An elevator located centrally in the hotel provides access to the roof top restaurant with a 360 degree panorama views of the landscape and plaza.


”When first visiting the future Koutalaki village site you realize the proximity to the ski slopes but at the same time the importance of creating a connection for skiers as well. The gentle slope away from the main ski system seems to offer the solution for a unified proposal that creates maximum connectivity for skiers and pedestrians.” Jakob Lange, Partner-in-Charge, BIG.


All accommodation units offered at the new resort enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding nature, including the eight private villas which are situated at different elevations to provide an undisturbed panorama, while the elevated private gardens serve as an extension of the landscape. The villas embrace the snowy landscape and allow the snow in all its forms become a part of the architecture itself.


"Instead of creating design solutions that aim at dealing with snow by shoveling or moving it, we want to create a village that utilizes the full potential of snow. When it is caught on the façade the window frames become a living part of the landscape, adapting to changes in the weather. The light granite façade enhances the intimate relation with the nature." Hanna Johansson, Project Leader, BIG.


While the four buildings simulate real ski slopes during winter time, combining the essence of a ski resort - skiing, relaxation, rec­reation and dwelling, the roofscape of the buildings during summer will be just as attractive serving as a green continuum of the surrounding natural landscape for hiking and pic­nics.


Name: Koutalaki Ski Village
Size: 47.000m2
Client: Kassiopeia Finland Oy
Location: Levi, Finland

Partners in Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Jakob Lange
Project Leader: Hanna Johansson
Team: David Tao, Erik de Haan, Jeff Mikolajewski, Jesper Victor Henriksson, Lucian Racovitan, Maren Allen

  • Calvin Harris

    It was acceptable in the 80ties. It was acceptable at the time.

  • kle

    This architect needs to take a break, go on a long vacation, disconnect from the world and stay like that (possibly in the wild) to meditate for 6 months :).
    Being in the middle of this fame, BIGs projects are getting more and more superficial and repetitive one after another. Every new project has something less than its predecessor in terms of concept and design.

    • thinkcreatebe

      LOOOOL Im with you…so many twists and turns one project after the other are making me dizzy and nauseous!

    • jordanjlloyd

      Yeah they totally sold out after their third album. They should do stuff more like that demo they did back in the 90's on audio cassette that got a limited release around Copenhagen.

  • kms

    this goes back to the old school BIG for me, where the reasons for doing a shape were fun and not some quasi sustainability diagrams (not to say sustainability is, on the whole, b.s., but that BIGs implementation mostly is). Anyways its not groundbreaking, but it is pretty nice.

  • TOLP

    I agree with kle above. Missing the days of PLOT, BIG and JDS' former office. PLOT was all about rigorous thinking and fresh ideas framed within a high level of specificity and conviction. It was literally those two guys bouncing ideas off of each other, along with a few other thoughtful employees. Unfortunately, now days Bjarke and Julien spend more time on the academic lecture circuit or TED conferences than in their respective studios, while their mediocre staff regurgitate and spit out sad reproductions of incredible PLOT projects.

  • johnny

    i actually dont mind this design even though i was expecting not too. It does look more the BIG of old, but please stop those stupid diagrams they make it seem like anyone could design a building.

    • JNKC

      Hi Johnny, I think that's the beauty of the BIG diagram! I feel that it's a simplicity that makes the projects accesible to everyone, not just designers.

  • joh

    haters gonna hate….. they ain't gonna quite….

    TO THE ABOVE COMMENTERS, please don't just state whether you like something or you don't. it's just too easy… and quite boring for the rest of us. i'd love to hear some REAL arguments, thoughts and ideas, both in favor and against…. then we all benefit and grow.

    you state that such firms (as the above) don't have any solid ideas behind their work… yet you provide no solid ideas or arguments to give credibility to your own cynical comments. do you not see the irony?


  • Pierre Sinsua

    i like this…if it comes to fruition i'd love to see it

  • dawnrwright

    well, the structure is nice. I just don't get why most people here consider it old school. well, i don't really have an idea for a great one either.

  • hmmmm

    Please stop tormenting boxes, circles, triangles and any other primary volumes with your red arrows and question marks! Not every building wants to be pushed and prodded into shape…or a hill!

  • marcos

    again and again arrows all around

  • rich

    come on!!!! arrows are to explain the project, building design needs to explain "how designers need the that form and why" and not only volumes to show cute shapes

  • JeffK

    As a non-architect I would like to point out that the little arrow diagrams everyone seems to hate I find extremely useful in understanding why the final form of their building looks the way it does. It allows BIG's work to be very accessible and simple to understand to the wider public. The unpretentious nature of BIG, and the fact that they are not trying to prove their genius all the time I think is what makes this firm so great.

  • mik

    I think BIG could be transformed in a BIG project machine.
    You enter the data in on of the sides and after a few minutes and noise the machine analyses with schemes the best and only solution possible.
    And there you go. No need for an office and architects. the BIG machine is always wright

  • TBM

    Again, the tragedy of architects and big scale. They thing BIG shapes will make the architecture, yet with not one ounce of validation of whether the user can really use the thing. The beauty of skiing or boarding is the terrain. Here you have the same boring run over and over. Lacks creative thinking about what the user actually needs and then resorts to baseless formal manipulation.

    Makes me sad, very sad for the profession and its obsession with the little blocks we played with as 4 year old children. Back to the drawing board.

  • idp

    the second and third image in this publication are cruel, play the urban condition of a street in any city, in a natural environment, it seems so wrong …. like blocks of flats that have clogged the visual one another, someone will argue for protection from the wind …. but I certainly q in a natural setting, the visuals become important and the wind should be resolved by other means.