BIG unveils a Ski Resort in Lapland

Courtesy of

BIG wins an invited competition for a 47,000 sqm ski resort and recreational area in Levi, . The future Ski Village will transform the existing Levi ski resort into a world class destination, offering top quality accommodation and leisure services for skiers of all levels and demands. More images and complete press release after the break.

Courtesy of BIG

The proximity to the Kittilä airport ensures easy access to the resort attracting international visitors to Levi village and the whole Lapland region. The Finland-based developer Kassiopeia Finland Oy is investing in its local region as it currently owns and operates Hotel Levi Panorama, Levi Summit Congress Center and Hotel K5 Levi and above and beyond has interests in developing the exquisite Koutalaki area.

“BIG’s visionary approach of combining unique types of accommodation and amenities along with the leisure activities offered at the resort, left the jury in awe. BIG’s ambitious plan challenges traditional thinking and we believe that the collaboration between Kassiopeia Finland and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group will rise to the occasion.” Jury, Kassiopeia Finland Oy.

Courtesy of BIG

Located on a gentle slope, the existing Levi ski center provides the framework for the future Koutalaki Ski Village which is conceived as an extension of the summit and the existing cluster of buildings in Koutalaki. BIG proposes to create a series of buildings that radiate out from a central square and whose ends touch the ground to create four freestanding buildings that each provide access to the roof and allow the skiers to descend from the resort’s rooftop downhill in any direction. The soft curves of the undulating roofs of the four buildings create a visual continuity of the natural land­scape while lending the whole village the unique character of a skislope skyline that creates an inhabited mountain top.

”The Koutalaki Ski Village is conceived as an extension of both the summit and the resort. Grown from the natural topography rather than dropped from the sky – the ar­chitecture extends the organic forms of natural landscape creating an inhabitable as well as skiable manmade mountain. As a result, our design for the Koutalaki Ski Village creates a new hybrid integrating distinct identities such as village and resort, shelter and openness, cozy intimacy and natural maj­esty, unique character and careful continuity – or simply – architecture and landscape.” Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Partner, BIG.

Courtesy of BIG

The four build­ings arc around a central square to create a new bustling village plaza at the heart of the resort, which is sheltered from the wind yet open and inviting to the surrounding landscape. The plaza allows ice skating and music events and is connected to a bowl like yard with cafés and bars created by the lower interior heights of the new buildings. The intimate atmosphere of the spaces created here contrasts the open views from the summit.

The whole resort area is connected through a network of paths that prioritizes skiers and pedestrians. Access to the roofs happens through central elevator cores allowing skiing down either towards the courtyard or the piste. An elevator located centrally in the hotel provides access to the roof top restaurant with a 360 degree panorama views of the landscape and plaza.

Courtesy of BIG

”When first visiting the future Koutalaki village site you realize the proximity to the ski slopes but at the same time the importance of creating a connection for skiers as well. The gentle slope away from the main ski system seems to offer the solution for a unified proposal that creates maximum connectivity for skiers and pedestrians.” Jakob Lange, Partner-in-Charge, BIG.

All accommodation units offered at the new resort enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding nature, including the eight private villas which are situated at different elevations to provide an undisturbed panorama, while the elevated private gardens serve as an extension of the landscape. The villas embrace the snowy landscape and allow the snow in all its forms become a part of the architecture itself.

Courtesy of BIG

“Instead of creating design solutions that aim at dealing with snow by shoveling or moving it, we want to create a village that utilizes the full potential of snow. When it is caught on the façade the window frames become a living part of the landscape, adapting to changes in the weather. The light granite façade enhances the intimate relation with the nature. “ Hanna Johansson, Project Leader, BIG.

While the four buildings simulate real ski slopes during winter time, combining the essence of a ski resort – skiing, relaxation, rec­reation and dwelling, the roofscape of the buildings during summer will be just as attractive serving as a green continuum of the surrounding natural landscape for hiking and pic­nics.

Courtesy of BIG

Architects: BIG
Location: Levi, Finland
Client: Kassiopeia Finland Oy
Partners in Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Jakob Lange
Project Leader: Hanna Johansson
Team: David Tao, Erik de Haan, Jeff Mikolajewski, Jesper Victor Henriksson, Lucian Racovitan, Maren Allen
Size: 47,000 sqm
Images: Courtesy of BIG

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "BIG unveils a Ski Resort in Lapland" 13 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • jeb

    Bjarke Ingels won’t be happy until he has reduced the whole world into diagrams

    • Tim

      I like BIG’s work compared to much of the stuff that gets built.

      The one thing I’ll never accept though is that every project of theirs is about one idea. There’s no sense that architecture is multicultural or multifaceted. There’s one geometry, one idea, per project. I find it to be very hermetic and very unrepresentative of modern life.

      The work is simple, relatively inexpensive, stylish, and hygienic – but I don’t think it’s great architecture.

      It’s good architecture, it’s acceptable.

      But it’s not brave and it’s not all that meaningful. It’s a very safe, very marketable, somewhat pandering form of architecture in my opinion.

  • desirock

    Is it me or are the accessible green roofs getting old?

    • Martin Hedin

      What do you suggest? To make them non accessible?

    • hugo

      no desirock, its definitely you.

  • Free Willy

    Ya, it really gets under my skin that he presents his concepts so clearly.

  • nop

    really? you shouldn’t let it get to you, willy.

  • Bartek Koszalka

    the thing i like the most about BIG is that each project is different from each other, no repeatability – attached importance to the substance of the location, its nature, atmosphere of the place, these r i belive the material of their work, great group

    • hilarious

      Classic comment Bartek! It’s good to see sarcasm alive and well in the archdaily comments section.

    • Tim

      I like what BIG is doing, relatively speaking. But the one thing you can’t really say about them is that each project is unique. Almost all of them are mega-projects with one isolated geometric idea that are about the building’s largescale relationship to the land. Otherwise it’s about inexpensive bare-bones realization of the underlying simple diagram, which clients love.

      Zaha Hadid’s projects are more different from one another than BIG’s are (which is to say not much)… if that puts it in its proper perspective.

  • DT

    BIG wins again~

  • Mac

    Point of concern are the views into the adjacent hotel rooms. The building blocks seem really close together; uncomfortable close together.

  • Mr. Spaz

    there better be a ski lift, i aint walking up that.

    • Julius

      The axonometric shows that you can get on the top from inside the building.

  • DID

    One of his better works, less childlike gimmic over it, yet it bears a striking resemblance to the Nayang School of Art?

    Not that we’re used to BIG formulating his own ideas.

  • JayM

    Here’s the jury report (pdf-file) of the competition so you can compare the proposals:

  • tetsu1

    It looks like another BIG’s project

  • isla

    again th same story, so boring everytime the same reactive-context proppousals..

  • H Khadra

    I personally love it, the lines and forms are sequential,proportional, and comfortable for the eye, there’s beauty in this peice. it doesn’t matter if its inspired from something we’ve already seen before, its still beautiful. how many elements in nature are similar and yet,when we meditate on the details of one of them, we still find unique beauty therein.

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  • yysleehom y

    always a fan of BIG’s diagrams, though.

  • jaskirat

    nice but roof slopes r doubtful….

  • Jimbo

    Yes, the novel ideas about 360 degree views and being able to choose which downhill you want to go to don’t really work. Sights are blocked by other buildings (very close by) and roof slopes only go to inner courtyard or outward (not possible to choose between two ski slopes as in the diagram).

    I think it’s a nice scheme but the diagrams don’t come to reality too well. It would be nice to see inverted diagrams that analyze the actual views and benefits, not just the theoretical ones.