If you’re an avid skier, would you want to live in a residential building that doubles as skiing facility?
The answer is most likely “yes,” said Shokhan Mataibekov, CEO of the Mataibekov Architects. Recognizing the inconvenience fellow skiers and snowboarders had to face in traveling over four hours to the nearest slope, Mataibekov proposed the world’s first residential building featuring a 1,000-foot ski slope called the Slalom House. Located in the city of Astana—one of the coldest cities in the world, this project earned Mataibekov the finalist spot in the residential category at the World Architecture Festival in 2015.
As Mataibekov told Tech Insider, this will be “a unique landmark for the city and can attract tourist and riders from all over the world.” The mixed-use structure is estimated to cost around $70 million to build—$65 million for the apartment building and $5 million for the ski slope. Descending from the top of a 21-storey apartment block that can only be accessed via two panoramic elevators, the artificial slope wraps around the U-shaped building with a barrier on the side to ensure safety. What’s more, the building is designed in a way that seamlessly slants at different points, which means skiers would go down on a gradual slope at an angle ranging from 10 to 15 degrees.
Built according to international rules and standards of existing ski slopes, the Slalom House will be home to many interesting slalom and freestyle shows as well as other ski sport events. With a maximum occupancy of 50 and a flexible operating schedule, this could be a unique venue for private events, according to the architect. And during the summer months when temperatures average around 70 degrees in Astana, there would be an artificial snow called Snowflex covering the slope, as reported by Architectural Digest.
To Philip Laird, President of ARC/ Architectural Resources Cambridge, a nationally recognized architectural, planning and interior design firm in Boston, the idea of having a residential project with a ski slope is very interesting. And while it is unsurprising that Slalom House would especially intrigue skiers, he wonders how long the novelty of going up and down the same slope would last.
What’s more, while Mataibekov’s project could be the first residential building equipped with a ski slope, the concept of incorporating a ski slope within a mixed-use structure is not new. In 2011, Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) came up with the idea of an unconventional power plant in Copenhagen complete with a built-in ski slope and a special effect, which is slated for completion in 2017. There may be a community element in both projects, but Laird prefers “how BIG effectively turns an industrial project into a public amenity, and how the innovative firm uses the energy burnt from trash to create snow for its ski slope all year round,” he noted.
What’s more important, however, the design of Slalom House points to the growing trend where architects will seek for new ways to utilizing the rooftop area. “The idea of adding gardens and places on the rooftop where one can sit and enjoy a little bit of nature in the city has become more widespread recently,” Laird noted. This is why, the architecture expert foresees this concept of maximizing the unused rooftop space would be a trend to look out for in 2016.