The new Kulm Eispavillon in St Moritz opens to the public today, a regeneration project that is set to reinstate Kulm Park as the social focus of this part of the resort by returning it to the community.
The initial aim of the project was to restore the existing 1905 eispavillon which played host to the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics. The building had been abandoned for many years, and had fallen into a state of extreme disrepair. The new scheme brings 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. Designed in the spirit of a mini-stadium, 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.
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. The design of the new pavilion continues the Engadin tradition of woodcraft, with a cantilevering canopy that 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. There is a new restaurant and exhibition area on the first level, showcasing various memorabilia that evoke the alpine tradition of the valley, so in that sense it is also a museum. The refurbishment is faithful to the original style, 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 can be accommodated in the future and an outdoor bar is located on the lower level with direct access to the Davos Plaun.
Lord Foster, Executive Chairman and Founder, Foster + Partners:
“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. 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. 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.”