When BMW builds a Hotel for its Employees

When BMW builds a Hotel for its Employees

Ammerwald alpine hotel

At Ammerwald Alpine hotel alpine coziness and unconditional minimalism enter into a well-thought-out symbiosis.

In 2009, BMW Group has opened a new hotel in a valley at an altitude of 1,100 meter above sea level, on the Austrian side of the Ammergau Alps. The old Ammerwald hotel has been in possession of BMW Group since 1942 and was the company’s only conference hotel for a long time. Especially for the company’s employees and their families the hotel offered peace and relaxation in an alpine environment. When it had to be closed in 2008 due to construction defects and a renovation turned out not to be worth it, plans for a follow-up building began. Architects Oskar Leo Kaufmann und Albert Rüf came off as winners in a contest with invited architects.

The new Ammerwald alpine hotel was supposed to be built at the place where the old one used to stand and to continue the old “spirit”. So, for the plans the idea of community, coziness, alpine atmosphere and idyllic peace was the basis of everything. At the same time, the proposition was that these qualities were supposed to be re-interpreted in a modern architectural language and especially under ecological and sustainable aspects.

Alpine meets modern

Towards the outside the hotel presents itself as a homogenously gridded block with plain metal and concrete surfaces. The evenly shaped windows characterize the image of the hotel and give it a strict, but also noble impression.

The new building has six floors. The common areas such as lobby, hotel bar, restaurants, wellness and sports facilities or seminar rooms are located inside a L-shaped base structure. The common rooms are dominated by wooden surfaces, contrasted by clear, white surfaces and modern furniture.

The 93 hotel rooms are located on the three upper floors. All regular rooms have the same size, furniture and alignment. Each level has a barrier-free room. On the third floor two rooms are connected with a dividing door to enable them to be used by families. The strict modularity of the room arrangements was a great advantage for the production, but reduced the level of flexibility and variation of  occupancies.

With 21 square meters including wet area the rooms have rather small dimensions, but should do for the common guest. The rooms are characterized by bright pinewood surfaces with a striking grain, typical for alpine architecture. However, regarding design the rooms have only little in common with alpine architecture, but the warm and cozy atmosphere of the wood is connected with clear, plain design. The furniture of the rooms is minimalistic without any “bells and whistles”. The interior design could be called Spartan, if there wasn’t the well-thought-out design.

Produced at the Workshop, installed on Location

The building’s base as well as the staircases and lift shafts are built as a conventional concrete massive building. The upper floors where the hotel rooms are located, however, consist completely of an innovative massive wood module system.

The 93 regular rooms have been premade as modules and thus were able to be installed on location in only ten days. Installations, lights, wet areas, windows, doors and furniture were already there and were integrated by the carpenters like a mass-production into the outer shell of plywood. Thanks to the unique cooperation of the various departments – mainly handicraft enterprises from the werkraum bregenzerwald joint venture – three pieces per day were able to be produced at the workshops. The fact that the parts were pre-made guaranteed deadlines to be met precisely and thus reduced the work required at the hardly accessible construction site, which was also exposed to sudden weather changes.

With this project you can see how and when pre-made parts and pre-fabricated houses can be deployed. The fact that all rooms have the same layout allowed the craftsmen to produce large quantities based on one single plan. However, the achieved quality of the modules would have hardly been possible without the proven and tested cooperation of the handicraft enterprises. The deployment of foreign companies called for the modules to be transported across a distance of 200 kilometers to the building site after production. 

Landmark in alpine Surroundings

The hotel stands out from its alpine surroundings and is, at first sight, certainly not what you would expect to find under the banner of an alpine hotel. The architects Oskar Leo Kaufmann and Albert Rüf show that you can realize traditional values such as coziness, idyllic scenery and peace without any clishés. Although they do not make use of any alpine architectural language, they create a modern interpretation of alpine living, especially in the hotel rooms.

All in all the Ammerwald alpine hotel is a good example of what’s possible with a well-thought-out planning and a flawless cooperation of various handicrafts dealing with pre-fabricated wood constructions. The modular construction and its level of perfection through the executing handicraft enterprises could find its copycats.

Project details


Oskar Leo Kaufmann/Albert Rüf ZT GmbH


Year of construction: 2008
Year of opening: 2009


GFA: 8,150 m²


BMW Group


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tompark12's picture
tompark12 17. July 2014 - 14:40

Considering the way the hotel looks, BMV is really appreciating the employees efforts! I hope they'll also think about installing the best selection of security turnstiles, such an amazing hotel deserves no less.

jessymiller744's picture
jessymiller744 28. July 2014 - 14:30

What a great way to reward the employees, nothing compares with a getaway in the Austrian Alps. For the employees who think of warmer places, they will definitely find on this vacation site the perfect place for an one of a kind experience.

janis.ritso's picture
janis.ritso 25. August 2014 - 16:51

This is a great way to keep the employees' spirits high and make them feel appreciated for their work. As seen on http://rogueregency.com there are many other package deals that you can find and get for your staff, especially after they meet all the deadlines.

clodymony's picture
clodymony 17. October 2014 - 16:48

The Ammerwald Alpine Hotel is one of the most elegant and comfortable hotels from the U.S. They provide some great services and their guests are satisfied. Moreover they are having a great restaurant where they prepare a great variety of tasty recipes like those from http://regencygrill.com/.

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