History & Architecture
Nine houses – one hotel – 700 years of history
Just imagine who might have lived in your room hundreds of years ago... Over the years, these nine medieval townhouses have been home to gentry, merchants, artisans and heads of the local guilds, all of whom left their mark by building, living in, decorating and modifying their residences.
But to preserve these nine disparate historic houses while transforming them into a luxury modern hotel was a challenge – to which the well-known Swiss architect Tilla Theus had the answer. She has threaded the houses through with interconnecting passageways, creating gradual transitions where one house merges into the next. Chrome, steel and glass have been introduced to complement the old stone walls and wooden beams. Theus also selected a particular type of wood and a specific kind of stone for use in each house. This ambitious conversion took a decade and was completed in 1995. More than 1,000 conservation builders and designers were involved in helping to fuse these nine entities into a single hotel. Restoration in order to preserve; innovation where construction required. This proved the only way to maintain the physical substance and core layout of the buildings, and so to conserve their 700 year-old spirit. And what does the name ‘Widder’, or ‘ram’, have to do with all this? Quite simply, the name of the hotel refers to the ‘Zum Widder’ guild of butchers, based in nearby Widdergasse since 1401. Stay unique.