Koutalaki Ski Village

by | 16. Jul 2012

Feature | Hotels | Public/ leisure

Image courtesy BIG


Located on a gentle slope, the existing Levi ski center provides the framework for the future Koutalaki Ski Village which is conceived as an extension of the summit and the existing cluster of buildings in Koutalaki.


Image courtesy BIG

BIG proposes to create a series of buildings that radiate out from a central square and whose ends touch the ground to create four freestanding buildings that each provide access to the roof and allow the skiers to descend from the resort’s rooftop downhill in any direction. The soft curves of the undulating roofs of the four buildings create a visual continuity of the natural land­scape while lending the whole village the unique character of a skislope skyline that creates an inhabited mountain top.

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.

/Founder & Partner, BIG

Image courtesy BIG

The four buildings arc around a central square to create a new bustling village plaza at the heart of the resort, which is sheltered from the wind yet open and inviting to the surrounding landscape. The plaza allows ice skating and music events and is connected to a bowl like yard with cafés and bars created by the lower interior heights of the new buildings. The intimate atmosphere of the spaces created here contrasts the open views from the summit.


Image courtesy BIG



Image courtesy BIG

The whole resort area is connected through a network of paths that prioritizes skiers and pedestrians. Access to the roofs happens through central elevator cores allowing skiing down either towards the courtyard or the piste. An elevator located centrally in the hotel provides access to the roof top restaurant with a 360 degree panorama views of the landscape.


Image courtesy BIG



Image courtesy BIG

All accommodation units offered at the new resort enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding nature, including the eight private villas which are situated at different elevations to provide an undisturbed panorama, while the elevated private gardens serve as an extension of the landscape. The villas embrace the snowy landscape and allow the snow in all its forms become a part of the architecture itself.


Image courtesy BIG



Image courtesy BIG

While the four buildings simulate real ski slopes during winter time, combining the essence of a ski resort – skiing, relaxation, recreation and dwelling, the roofscape of the buildings during summer will be just as attractive serving as a green continuum of the surrounding natural landscape for hiking and picnics.


Drawing courtesy BIGConcept Diagram 1

The future Ski Village will transform the existing Levi ski resort into a world class destination, offering top quality accommodation and leisure services for skiers of all levels and demands. The proximity to the Kittilä airport ensures easy access to the resort attracting international visitors to Levi village and the whole Lapland region.


Drawing courtesy BIGConcept Diagram 2

The site topography denies an alpine skier to directly access the slope on skies or snowboard.


Drawing courtesy BIGConcept Diagram 3

By raising the lower part of the landscape the skier can maneuver on the site only through a big effort.


Drawing courtesy BIGBuilding Form

Through the creation of a new peak on site the skier can access the slope and choose freely in which direction to go. The lifted landscape opens up the possibility of programming the space underneath.


Drawing courtesy BIGBuilding Form

By displaying the program in a circular form, the surrounding views are available in all directions.


Drawing courtesy BIGBuilding Form

The volume is pushed down to meet the ground giving the building four peaks allowing skiers to go downhill. By the rotation of each peak the site becomes permeable and freestanding buildings are created.


Drawing courtesy BIGBuilding Form

he buildings are extended parallel to each other creating intimate street environments between the volumes. Each building is adjusted according to programmatic and conceptual requirements. The two northernmost volumes are lower allowing views towards Sirkka Village and the vast landscape from all buildings.


Model image courtesy BIGModel

Connected by the village streets are two public spaces of different character. A plaza that allows for ice skating and music events adjacent to the buildings, and a courtyard with cafes and bars between the buildings.