The new summit restaurant atop the Nebelhorn mountain in Germany combines culinary delights with breath-taking alpine views. The building materials needed for its construction had to be flown by helicopter to the site located at an altitude of more than 2,200 metres.
The Nebelhorn summit can be reached by a lift, that has been used by some twenty million visitors to the mountain since it began operation in 1930. At the time, it was the longest aerial tramway in the world. And, even now, there is no lift station in the Allgäu Alps higher than the Nebelhorn summit station, at 2,214 metres. From there, visitors are rewarded for their twenty-minute gondola ride with a view of 400 different summits. The architectural firm Hermann Kaufmann ZT succeeded in creating a restaurant at this altitude that, as the architects describe it, “makes optimum use of the constructive and creative potential of timber.”
Open year round, the Nebelhorn lift in Oberstdorf is one of the most important tourism sites in the Allgäu region. To make the ride even more attractive, the Vorarlberg-based architects have now added a modern restaurant to the Nebelhorn summit. It is an elegant replacement for the outdated restaurant that was already there, and fits harmoniously with the raw experience of the natural landscape. The project solved a huge problem with the previous building: The chalet built in the 1950s obscured the view of the Nebelhorn from the valley – it even blocked the view from the tramway.
Modern reductionism and alpine tradition were successfully combined in the integrative design by the architects. Glazed railings border the area and serve to tie together the new summit restaurant and terrace buildings to a unified design tract. The organic form allowed the planners to enclose the parts of the existing structure that were worth preserving, while integrating the building into the topography. A sub-basement containing the technical rooms is faced with natural stones from the surrounding area.
Since opening of the restaurant, visitors to the Nebelhorn summit can now enjoy delicious cuisine with a full Alpine panorama and a view of all 400 mountain peaks. And the lower terrace level offers an additional special attraction or thrill: north face platform. The entire summit is ringed by this extensively secured and easily accessible grated steel walkway. The barrier-free platform offers a view over the entire Allgäu range and opens up completely new perspectives with a 600-metre view down the north face of the Nebelhorn.
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