Burchen Mystik

DS+R: Solar Wellness Retreat

Burchen Mystik

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Burchen_Mystik will be an oasis of well-being where guests relax, gather energy, and experience the environment with all their senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Part of this experience is also one of conscience: the feeling and knowledge of being in harmony with the community and with nature rather than at their expense.

Burchen_Mystik will become a new member of the Bürchen community. The net-zero design places no burden on the surroundings and also gives back to the community in various forms, such as absorbing waste streams and returning energy into the community grid. The zero-energy strategy is aligned with the guidelines of the 2000 Watt society approach in which each of us is limited to 2 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Burchen_Mystik will meet these goals, serving as a leading example in the hotel industry in Switzerland.

The identity and design of Mystik builds from the unique qualities of Burchen. Unshaded and elevated up in the mountains, Bürchen is in one of the highest solar energy regions in Switzerland. The stable temperature of its earth can serve as a heat source and heat sink. As a whole, the project harnesses these sources of energy and transfers them through natural cycles of water and material to balance the project’s energy demand and supply.

Reflecting on the cultural identity of the granaries, traditionally used to store biomass for the winter, the project introduces new biomass technologies that harness local site and restaurant waste to create energy.

The Solar Lake of Burchen_Mystik, its most iconic feature, connects well-being with energy collection. The shallow pool reflects the surrounding mountains while shielding the photovoltaic energy collectors under the water's surface, screening them from view. The water is warmed just one degree above freezing to avoid freezing and snow collection, allowing the pool to harness energy year-round. This approach connects three local elements: mountains, sun and water. It is an intelligent energy management system that uses soil temperatures and waste heat from the hotel to ensure solar electricity production year-round while providing small pockets of heated areas within the Solar Lake where guests may swim with majestic views in all directions.

The design affords the flexibility to resolve increased energy demands of the extended hotel program by either extending biomass services into the community or through the use of hybrid solar collectors on rooftops for parallel heat and electricity production.

The wood construction of the swarm design will utilize rapidly renewable and reclaimed components to contain and store the same quantity of CO2 as produced by 4 years of hotel operation. This construction strategy is in line with the goals the 2000-Watt society vision, thus creating a unique identity for Burchen_Mystik.

The project breathes with the mountain winds, captures and filters the warm sun, collects and stores the summer heat in the ground to reuse in winter, giving guests a sense of well-being and connectedness to the environment.