The Murezzan development in St Moritz is located in the Upper Engadine, one of Switzerland’s most scenic valleys. Drawing on the warmth of traditional alpine architecture, with its traditional stacked logs, open fires and cosy alcoves, the design reinterprets these familiar elements and materials, while providing a contemporary, urban lifestyle in the centre of the popular ski resort. The project involved retrofitting two existing buildings, the Albana Hotel (1907) and Posthotel (1908), and the construction of the Chesa apartment building, together creating sixty residences, along with boutique shops, galleries and a restaurant.
The renovation of the existing buildings was guided by the original plans and reversed a recent history of unsuccessful alterations. The entrance arch and the proportions of the interior spaces have been restored, creating a series of unique apartment layouts that reflect the character of the original hotels. The exterior is rendered in the region’s distinctive sgraffito plaster and bay windows are enhanced with full-height glazing to accentuate views of the lake. The Posthaus Restaurant on the first floor echoes the traditional Engadin ‘stüva’, combining a restaurant, informal café and lounge bar to provide a place for St Moritz to meet, dine or relax and enjoy the view. The restaurant’s alcoves and vaulted ceilings have been restored, along with twenty-four original, neo-gothic windows. At night, the space is illuminated by cylindrical glass Ilium lamps, which were conceived specifically for the interior by the Foster studio’s product design team.
The new apartment building – the Chesa – faces the former hotels across Via Serlas, the town’s most exclusive shopping street. The northern edge of the building presents its public face, where the roof canopy projects to form a double-height colonnade and shelters a sequence of glazed retail spaces. A deep timber fascia draws the eye around the curve of the street, yet the line of the roof is low enough to allow views of the spectacular landscape of the Alps. To the rear, the timber-clad levels step down the slope to form private apartments with wide south-facing terraces. The buildings are linked to one another through a subterranean passage beneath the street, leading to the underground parking facilities.