Vinikus Restaurant, Reconstruction and New Building

(no longer in original state)

The unusual current development of the impressively shaped site, a former stream-bed, is the result of use and clearance by its former owner, a building company, over a period of a hundred years.

By building, or adding, the restaurant the present owners started their long-term efforts to change step by step the industrial site in the very heart of Davos into a public cultural area. Half of the front property had to be transformed to house a new restaurant offering high-quality cuisine and wine, a passion of one of the clients, the young wine specialist Christoph Künzli. A subterranean wine cellar had to be built, and the volume of the former single-storey restaurant was enlarged to the edges of the statutory boundary lines to create an interior space of a suitable height for a new guest area.

The cellar is built in concrete.  The upper walls rise in solid masonry. Around the large window opening, the masonry is held by a tight gridlike steel framework. The external facades are rendered like the surfaces of the existing courtyard development. The painted lettering of the restaurant name, which is essential to distinguish the building, is the only element that stands out.

The wooden dining room is built into this masonry structure like a lining. Large fibre building boards, partly veneered, form the ceilings, walls, doors and cupboards. The floor is made of parquet strip flooring. On the window side this inner ‘wooden house’ can be opened and closed by narrow movable wooden panels – interior shutters. The hollow space between the wooden cube and the brickwork structure houses the ducting that supplies the dining room with air and electricity through the open panel joints. The atmosphere inside the restaurant is defined by the use of oak/barrel timbers: millimetres thick in the veneers and centimetres thick in the parquet.

In contrast to the unifying panelling in the dining room, the cellar is characterized by a separation of space, equipment and the different materials used. The walls are fair-faced concrete, as are the ceiling and the floor. The 'stairlike' wine rack in the wine-tasting room is unveneered. The huge table is solid oak.

Location Davos, Switzerland

Programme Restaurant, degustation room, kitchen, side rooms

Commission 1990

Planning/Construction 1990–1992

Client Christoph Künzli, Scala Vini Davos

Gross Floor Area 415 m2

Team G/G Dieter Bachmann (Projekt-/Bauleitung), Gabriella Güntert

Site Management Annette Gigon / Mike Guyer Architekten, Zurich

Structural Engineer Davoser Ingenieure AG, Davos

Signage Lars Müller, Baden

Photos © Heinrich Helfenstein