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BIG architects: koutalaki ski village
dec 13, 2011
BIG architects: koutalaki ski village


‘koutalaki ski village by BIG architects in levi, finland
all images courtesy BIG architects

copenhagen-based practice BIG architects has won first prize in the invited design competition
for a 47,000 m2 ski resort and recreational center in levi, finland. conceived as a gentle extension
of the summit, the proposed project generates four artificial hills for skiers while housing
various functions and accommodations within.


in context

treating the summit and the pre-existing cluster of buildings in koutalaki as a framework for the design,
the project is arranged in a radial fashion, pivoting around a central public square that will serve as
a node of connection thoughout the resort. founder and partner bjake ingels comments, ‘the koutalaki ski
village is conceived as an extension of both the summit and the resort. grown from the natural topography
rather than dropped from the sky – the architecture extends the organic forms of natural landscape creating
an inhabitable as well as skiable manmade mountain. as a result, our design for the koutalaki ski village
creates a new hybrid integrating distinct identities such as village and resort, shelter and openness,
cozy intimacy and natural majesty, unique character and careful continuity – or simply – architecture
and landscape.’


during summer

the four series of buildings feature an arched form that skiers can descend from the resort’s rooftop
in any direction. arranged to direct views towards the surrounding landscape and sirkka village at
the foot of the mountain, the softly undulating volumes lend a visual continuity throughout the site.
a network of paths which prioritizes skiers and pedestrians link the resort together, creating intimate
spatial pockets and ‘internal streets’. all accommodation units including eight private villas and
elevated private gardens provide sweeping views of the snowy landscape.


view from ski hill

‘instead of creating design solutions that aim at dealing with snow by shoveling or moving it,
we want to create a village that utilizes the full potential of snow. when it is caught on the facade,
the window frames become a living part of the landscape, adapting to changes in the weather.
the light granite facade enhances the intimate relation with the nature,’ says project leader hanna johansson.

during the summer, the man-made slopes will serve as a green continuum of the natural landscape,
catering to hikers and other visitors.


view of interior street


connecting plaza and ice rink


interior view of hotel bar


view from spa


chalet apartment


villa units at night


current site inclination
the site topography denies an alpine skier to directly access the slope on skies or snowboard


flat landscape
by raising the lower part of the landscape, the skier can maneuver on the site only through a big effort


peak
through the creation of a new peak on site, the skier can access the slope and choose freely in which direction to go


use
the lifted landscape opens up for the possibility of programming the space underneath


(upper left) by displaying the program in a circular form, the surrounding beautiful views are available in all directions
(upper right) the volume is pushed down to meet the ground, giving the building four peaks for skiers
(lower left) by the rotation of each peak, the site becomes permeable. freestanding buildings are created
(lower right) the buildings are extended parallel to each other, creating intimate street environments in between the volumes


(left) each building is adjusted according to programmatic and contextual requirements
(right) connected by the village streets are two public spaces of different character: a plaza that allows ice skating and music events
adjacent to the existing buildings; and a courtyard with cafes and bars in between the new buildings


physical model


fly-by view


view of skating rink and village square


section through site

project info:

client: kassiopeir finland oy
size: 47,000 m2

partner in charge: bjarke ingels, jakob lange
project leader: hanna johansson
team: david tao, erik de haan, jeff mikolajewski, jesper victor henriksson,
lucian racovitan, maren allen

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