The Breitenbach Landscape Hotel proposes a holistic ecotourism experience in Alsace, a historical region in northeastern France. The project is inspired by Scandinavian traditions and builds on the region’s culinary, wellness, and nature opportunities.
The hotel was designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, an architectural firm based in Norway and Denmark, in collaboration with ASP Architecture.
Perched on the heights of the Alsatian village of Breitenbach, the landscape hotel 48° Nord reinterprets the traditional Scandinavian hytte, a place of retreat and reconnection with wild nature. At the heart of a protected Natura 2000 site, the project was designed to fit into a preserved setting without ever disturbing it.
The project is born from the meeting of two cultures (France and Scandinavia), two passions (nature and architecture), two men (Emil Leroy and Reiulf Ramstad), and the enthusiastic and supportive local community of Breitenbach.
A Franco-Danish client, a Norwegian architect, and a common attraction for design and natural materials: it was from this meeting that the 48° Nord project was born. The Breitenbach Landscape Hotel encapsulates daring architecture and design, a spirit of well-being, and a sharp culinary culture. By uniting local identity with the landscape through forms still unseen in the region, the architect gave 48° Nord a unique architectural expression.
The project goal was not to build a hotel per se, but create a place to live, a habitat to welcome people, and take them on a sensual journey by experiencing a new universe in natural surroundings. It is a place where guests come to meet people and have a moment, whether to share a meal, a weekend of rest, or to hike the Vosges hills and valleys. The architectural approach of 48° Nord echoes this philosophy. The project’s clean design and signature lines evoke the Nordic countries. However, the vision is also to disseminate an art of living in harmony with the landscape. Despite its simplicity, the Breitenbach hotel 48° Nord does not go unnoticed, but surrounded by nature, sobriety guarantees integration within its landscape.
Amidst the trees, natural hedges and wild grasses, and heirs to the Norwegian hytte, 14 cabins dot the hillside like boulders on a slope, balancing privacy and outlook. Small, light, discreet, they are simply placed on the hillside. Built on stilts, they are even removable, so the landscape stays preserved and natural, untouched. The untreated and locally sourced chestnut tree (cut on the hill opposite the hotel) clads all volumes, combined only with large glass openings.
Four distinct typologies compose a family of forms with diverse qualities. The ‘Grass’ hytte, on one level universally accessible, are grouped near the main building. The ‘Tree’ and ‘Ivy,’ towering thin and slender, combine verticality and offer panoramic views. Lastly, the ‘Fjell,’ atop the hill, welcomes families with protected outdoor spaces.
When entering the site, you meet the main building dedicated to hospitality, catering, and wellness. Its volume is wrapped in Alsatian chestnut shingles fashioned in an integration workshop in Saverne. Responding to the Passivhaus construction label, this intimate setting padded with dark stained wood and finely detailed opens widely onto the landscape and offers a unique place of meeting, exchange, and contemplation.