Mario Botta pairs stone with Jansen steel frames to create striped facade for Swiss mountain restaurant
Dezeen promotion: Swiss architect Mario Botta has completed an unusually shaped restaurant in the alps, which combines natural stone cladding with Jansen's steel facade system.
Mario Botta – the architect best known for his postmodern San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – designed the restaurant for Monte Generoso, an Alpine mountain located on the border between Switzerland and Italy.
As with SFMOMA, which features zebra-like bands of black and white stone, Botta opted to create a masonry facade with strong geometries for the restaurant and conference centre, which is positioned at at an altitude of 1,700 metres.
The building comprises five towers, each clad in horizontal strips of natural stone that alternate between pale and smooth, and roughly textured dark hues. The stone-clad blocks are arranged in a circle and the fronts are angled in the middle, so that they lean in at the top.
This shape prompted the project's name, Stone Flower.
Windows are slotted in between the blocks, offering visitors panoramic views of the mountainous surroundings. These windows are fitted in Jansen's VISS HI steel structural system, chosen to resist the harsh weather and severe winds of the mountain summit.
Oberriet-based Jansen also provided the structure for the windows that puncture the tops of the blocks, creating views up towards the sky.
"The climate in the Alpine regions places high demands on the buildings situated there," said Jansen.
"Steel systems in particular can withstand the mercurial weather conditions with considerable temperature fluctuations and strong winds."
Jansen's steel profiles also feature inside the building, including the fire protection systems VISS Fire and Janisol 2 EI30.
The building opened to the public in April this year. Restaurant areas occupy the uppermost levels, and there are also conference facilities located on the second floor.
A viewing platform on one side of the restaurant allows visitors to see the railway station of a cogwheel train, which is positioned alongside the building. This railway has been operating since 1980, running from the valley station Capolago on Lake Lugano to the mountain summit.
Outdoor steps lead up from the viewing platform to a terrace that is built into the mountain.
The entrance to the five-storey building is located on the lower level. Contained with a glass volume, it sits beneath the stone towers, which are elevated above the ground on concrete columns.
Botta, 74, founded his practice Mario Botta Architetti in 1970. As well as SFMOMA, his portfolio includes projects across Europe, including Évry Cathedral in France, the Europa-Park-Dome in Germany and the Bergoase Spa in Switzerland.
Photography is by Enrico Cano.