Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Klein Matterhorn

A new structure in an exposed location at 3820 masl (12,532 ft) provides the creature comforts for visitors reaching Europe's highest cable-car terminal. A restaurant, shop and toilets are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor contains bunk rooms for mountain climbers and skiers, a small hall and staff rooms.
The building sits next to the south exit from a tunnel connecting it to the cable car's mountain terminal. Here, the bare rock of the peak emerges from the glacier. The building has been designed to make optimal use of solar energy, and to mitigate any exposure to winds or snowdrifts.
Massive structures on the lower level enclose the building technology. To save time and cost, the upper floors consist of prefabricated timber elements. Their beams reveal themselves in the interior of the building, while the wooden floors and walls have been covered.
The façade consists of two layers – an interior timber "skin" with timber window frames, plus an exterior metal skin that integrates solar panels, glass and sheet metal. The air between the two layers primarily serves to produce heat: air warms up, its heat is trapped and stored. As a secondary effect, the double layer prevents the solar panels from overheating, thereby significantly increasing their output. The building's double façade with integrated solar panels, and own water treatment facility, constitute a sophisticated energy concept: power can be fed into the grid of the operating company's cable-cars and trains.

Client: Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, Zermatt
Completion: 2008
Photos: Bruno Helbling Fotografie

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