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Breitenbach Landscape Hotel 48° Nord / Reiulf Ramstad Architects, ASP Architecture

Architect: Reiulf Ramstad Architects, ASP Architecture
Place: Breitenbach, France
Year: 2020
Photographer: Florent Michel 11h45, Yvan Moreau,
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The encounter between two professionals who share the same passion for the environment and natural materials – the Franco-Danish landscape planner Emil Leroy-Jönsson and the Norwegian architect Reiulf Ramstad – gave birth in Breitenbach, a small village in the French department of Bas-Rhin, to a singular idea of hospitality: the 48° Nord Landscape Hotel.

Designed by firm Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, in collaboration with the French ASP Architecture, the hotel blends inspiration from Scandinavian traditions with French culture and with the extraordinary opportunities offered by the region’s natural landscape.

The hotel, located on a 20,000 sqm area at the heart of the Natura 2000 site – the ecological network established to ensure the conservation of natural habitats and of rare or threatened wild fauna and flora in the European Community – was designed to represent, together with its natural surroundings, integral part of the landscape system. Far from the logic of a traditional hotel, the 48° Nord includes a main building, dedicated to hospitality, wellness and catering, and 14 cabins, inspired by the traditional Scandinavian hytte, a place of retreat and reconnection with the wild nature.

Amidst trees, natural hedges and wild grasses, the small wooden cabins, which have different forms depending on the typology and orientation, dot a hillside like boulders on a slope, balancing privacy and outlook. At 48° Nord the concept of luxury is redefined, merging with that of calm, simplicity and of the opportunity to restore harmony in the relationship between man and nature, the lack of which has led to the environmental disasters of the recent times.

Although located at such a distance from each other as to guarantee to its guests maximum calm and privacy, the 14 cabins and the main building of the new Breitenbach 48° Nord Landscape Hotel form a unique complex, characterized by the use of untreated and locally sourced wood for the claddings. Small, light and discreet, the Scandinavian-inspired cabins are all clad with chestnut tree cut on the hill opposite the hotel, combined with large glass openings that offer the feeling of a total immersion into the surrounding nature.

Built on stilts, the cabins are even removable, so that the landscape stays preserved and natural, untouched. The four distinct cabin typologies meet the different needs of space – from 20 to 60 sqm – and location: the Grass cabins, on one level universally accessible, are grouped near the main building, the Tree and Ivy cabins, towering thin and slender, combine verticality and panoramic views, while the bigger Fjell, atop the hill, can welcome entire families.

Interiors are minimal and rustic, qualified by the light-coloured wood, the snug built-in furniture and the spatial contrasts, which perfectly embody the Nordic concept of hygge, that is, a warm, reassuring and familiar atmosphere. The main building, which houses the hospitality and common areas, is wrapped in Alsatian chestnut shingles, while its interiors are characterized by dark wood that helps to create the right atmosphere for meetings and catering.

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