Credit: Valentiny hvp Architects

Luxembourg-based Valentiny HVP Architects recently won first prize in an architecture competition run by Salzburg AG Tourismus GmbH.

With the WolfgangseeSchifffahrt ferries and the Schafberg Railway (SchafbergBahn), the tourism subsidiary of Salzburg AG operates two of the most popular attractions in the Salzkammergut region in Austria. Since 2019, the leased hotel on Schafberg mountain has also been part of Salzburg AG Tourismus GmbH's portfolio. As part of the modernisation of the Schafberg, in addition to the further development of the valley station into an adventure district, a modernisation of the Hotel Schafbergspitze was also discussed.

As part of an international architecture competition, six architects' offices submitted their designs for the "Gipfelerlebnis Schafberg" (Schafberg summit experience) project in recent months. Last week, the expert jury chose the winning project.

The plan is to create a unique summit experience with a 4* hotel and an attractive range of restaurants, including for people who are not familiar with the hotel. The design by Valentiny hvp Architects from Luxembourg, which envisages a new building for the property, was ranked first.

Luxembourgish architect Francois Valentiny explained: "Out of respect for the mountain and for nature, the architecture must be clearly subordinate, after all it is ultimately about preserving the beauty of the Schafberg for people and making it tangible".

Gerhard Mitterberger, chairman of the jury, commented: "The winning project best manages the balancing act that results from the demands of the outstanding landscape, nature conservation, summit experience, intensive tourist use and technical innovation of the late 19th century, through striking and true-to-scale self-evidence".

Daniela Kinz, Co-Managing Director of Salzburg AG Tourismus GmbH, congratulated the award winner and emphasised a key aspect of the project: "A modern hotel project on the top of the Schafberg would ideally complement our range of offers at the Salzkammergut location. A new hotel building on the top of the Schafberg has the potential to become a tourist beacon in the region, giving new impetus to the entire tourism industry in the Salzkammergut".

The jury's decision is the starting point for the planning phase that follows and which will take place in close coordination with the experienced project developers at Salzburg AG. There is a clear focus, according to Ms Kinz: "The visionary design by Valentiny hvp best reflects our strict requirements in the areas of sustainability. We are aware that the construction work will take place in a unique scenic environment. Therefore, issues such as minimising soil sealing, preserving biodiversity and nature conservation play an important role for us". The organisers will thus take the time to comprehensively consider these aspects in the planning; a date for the start of construction has not yet been set. The ongoing operation of the existing Hotel Schafbergspitze will continue to be guaranteed.