Ramundberget is a well established, genuine, small ski resort with a strong brand. Since 1936 an increasing number of people have visited Ramundberget to experience the nature, hiking or skiing the slopes in the tracks or going on trips in the nearby mountains.
A restaurant on top of the mountain close to the ski slopes, had been on the wish list for several years.
The senior management of Ramundbeget Ski Resort wanted a new mountain restaurant for strengthen their brand. By being “a unique type of restaurant with a menu based on local and Sami food culture, and with an architecture that should make Restaurant Tusen worth a visit”.
As Ramundberget is a family owned business the budget for the project was limited.
Our first sketches showed a protecting leaning fence integrated with the building. A structure that could let the winds pass with an opening towards the mid-day sun.
After some alternative locations that we tested by ski in the area, we chose a site with a nice view. An easy accessible plot for skiers in all kinds of weather types and where the low standing sunbeams could reach this spot in February/March.
When we put up the restaurant it was midsummer, and the snow had melted, we had found a dry flat place, near a creek, at the tree line. Well visible on distance for the skier’s.
In this unique and sensitive context we wanted a building in harmony with the nature, the year around and day and night. Birch is the only tree that grows up to this altitude where the mountain moor starts.
The plot is sometimes very windy. We chose the round shape on the building to let the winds pass, and to drop the snow beside the entrance. By letting full length tree trunks surround the protected entrance area, we achieved a sunny calm outdoor area at the entrance. Open to the ski slopes.
We chose birch as it is a local nature given façade material. There is no need to paint it and it is nice to look at even when the bark is falling off. The big dimensions stands strong against the hard weather and a trunk is easily exchangeable if necessary.
The logs also protect the underlying construction. The logs also let the snow stay and strengthen the experience of the facade. The Resturant Tusen is like a grouse, a common bird here. Grey during summer and white during winter.
By choosing a wooden construction we achieved low weight and low carbon dioxide impact. It is a pre-fabricated building carefully put to the ground and also a way to minimize the building time.
The walls are made of blocks that are pre-fabricated at a local factory and they were transported on a temporary track, until the snow arrived in October. Then all building materials were transported up by snow groomers adapted for material transportation. The birch bark/white birch plywood on the inside of the façade, mirrors the exterior and invites the surrounding nature to the inside.
We wanted the inner space and the interior to feel both spatial and intimate. Each window in the restaurant is framing a unique view on both levels. The upper windows are for the stars and the northern lights. The interior colours are inspired by moss and lichens on the floor and the cloudberries on some walls and on the bar.
The food served in the restaurant on local stone plates is local – reindeer and trout.
The restaurant has its own system for wastewater treatment, and it gets its own water from a source in the ground nearby. We have used the same contractor, geothermal, drilling for water and drilling for the foundation of the building. Therefore, we have a building with not so much negative impact on the ground.
The building is warmed up by ground heating and heat exchangers take care of the warmth from the air and water. To top up during really cold days, electrical heating is used. In the summer when it is closed for skiers everything is turned off.
And the management is satisfied that a lot of people have visited Ramundberget to visit the Restaurant Tusen. Tusen is the Swedish word for thousand that is the altitude for this restaurant in meters above the sea level.
As we have a great deal of infrastructure on the site and it would be easy to put up a small wind mill, it would be easy to make it an ever better environmental project than it already is today. One of our ideas is to put out a small tent like buildings close to the restaurant to make an overnight stay possible on the mountain in the future.