From a corten steel-lined walking path in rural France to an understated Oslo apartment complex, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter’s diverse projects are elevated by exceptional sensitivity to the environment that surrounds them. In Alsace, the Norwegian firm’s newest realized concept, the Breitenbach Landscape Hotel, is no different.
A scattering of compact, chestnut-shingled dwellings populates a hill overlooking the small town of Breitenbach. Dubbed 48° Nord, these elegantly integrated Nordic-style hyttes (cottage in Norwegian) make up a new collaborative project between Reiulf Ramstad and Franco-Danish hotelier Emil Leroy. The duo hoped to evoke Nordic architecture by introducing forms that celebrate the topography of the Alsace-Vosges region.
The result: 14 hyttes and a main reception building, spread over 20,000 square metres. Combining a sober wooden exterior with bright, simple interiors, the hytte design concept embodies the simplicity and aesthetic purity of contemporary Scandinavian architecture. The accommodations were built in four iterations, each with a distinct typology: the low to the ground, universally accessible Gress; the tall and slender Tre; the modest and discrete Eføy; and the spacious, family-oriented Fjëll.
Reiulf Ramstad’s brief remarked that the project “must fade to the site but not disappear.” To this end, each structure’s geometric lines contrasts against the slopes and valleys that surround them, while their sparse dispersion across the hill maintains the openness of the landscape. The separation of each hytte also reinforces a sense of privacy and seclusion.
Clad in chestnut — with wood sourced just 500 metres away — and punctuated only by large glass openings, an organic presence melds the cottages with the local vegetation. With each hytte mounted on a removable stilt, even the earth beneath them remains largely untouched.
Interiors are minimal, with framed views of the Alsatian valley in lieu of wall decor. Light-coloured wood, straightforward furnishings and snug built-in beds complete the hotel’s hygge ambiance.
To complete the vision for a Scandinavian-inspired guest experience, select hyttes are equipped with integrated outdoor Nordic baths, jacuzzis or private saunas.
Located at the heart of a protected conservation site, the project sits lightly on the landscape – and when four trees were cut down during construction, 1,000 shrubs were planted in their stead. It’s a gesture of respect consistent with the hotel’s ethos: adaptation over destruction.
The Norwegian architects bring a Scandinavian touch to a tranquil hotel in the Alsatian countryside.