BERCHTESGADEN (DE) - A stone's throw away from the ruins of Berghof, Adolf Hitler's famous retreat near Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps, stands a rather newer five-star hotel. In his design for the luxurious mountain resort, architect Herbert Kochta tried to make a 'self-evident' building that is not upstaged by the exceptional beauty of the setting. As with Berghof, the surrounding alpine landscape serves as a backdrop to the hotel.
The facade of the exclusive hotel is clad with Stainzer gneiss, a particularly hard type of gneiss quarried in south-east Austria. Because the stone contains iron ore, it comes in many colour variations ranging from red, yellow and grey to a deep golden brown. This makes for a lively appearance which is why the stone was also used in the interior, for example for the walls of the communal areas.
The 130-room resort hotel is horseshoe-shaped in plan. The original design consisted of two parallel blocks joined in the middle by a corridor. But when it was realized that this would look like a gigantic 'H' from the air, the design was 'adjusted'. The corridor was moved to the north end and the two wings curved to allow guests maximum enjoyment of the landscape. Although the architects were determined that the hotel should not play second fiddle to nature, the use of natural stone could be seen as a conciliatory gesture. (Hannah Schubert)