MoDusArchitects: Hotel Icaro in Castelrotto Bolzano
Sandy Attia and Matteo Scagnol (ModusArchitects) stand out mainly for their ability to work on the buildings of South Tyrol without creating figurative fractures, managing to write new chapters that have associated the identity of the studio with projects in this specific part from Italy. The Icaro hotel was born from a shelter for hikers and skiers built in the 1930s and made famous over the decades, operated by the same family for three generations. The hotel is located at an altitude of 1900 meters on the plateau of Alpe di Siusi or the Seiser Alm Mountains, part of the UNESCO Natural Heritage Site of the Dolomites; surrounded by trails and ski slopes, it overlooks the jagged peaks of Sassolungo and Sciliar. The coniferous forests of the region, the different wood species and the links with local traditions suggest the materials and finishes used in the renovated buildingwhile its form and composition result from its location in the landscape.
The original building was a single volume divided into two parts and distributed over four levels, constructed of concrete with wooden cladding and loggias. The double-gabled roof, also in wood, is pierced with numerous dormer windows, creating a traditional alpine facade. The demands of modern hospitality necessitated the construction of a new wing to the north to house the hotel staff, as well as a new wing to the east adding to the number of rooms available. The organization of the hotel with wellness services in the basement, the reception and restaurant on the ground floor and the hotel rooms on the upper floors is largely confirmed by the ModusArchitects project, while the design of interiors and facades has been revised. The new east wing is a mirror image of the main body of the hotel to the west, forming an arc-shaped arrangement symbolically embracing the view of the valley and the mountain peaks that surround it. The new larch panel roofing and cladding is common to the historic and new wings, creating a single architectural volume. The lower levels, containing the reception and public services, are in raw concrete with large bay windows in the spa area on the north side. The cantilevered upper level walls are set back from the eaves to make room for two orders of loggias. Only on the main facade, facing south, 55 meters long, is the roof supported by a colonnade of 13 pillars of 7.5 meters high trestle construction, adding a particularly effective decorative solution to the two upper levels and evoking the construction traditions of the Alps. Railings and wooden columns create a new framework through which to admire the mountainous landscape of the Dolomites from inside the hotel rooms.
This style looks like another recent project by Sandy Attia and Matteo Scagnol, at the center of Castelrotto, the home and studio of artist Hubert Kostner, husband of hotel owner Angelica Sattler. The use of a concrete and glass plinth, wooden upper levels, larch plywood pillars and a layout that opens to allow contemplation of the outside landscape seem to suggest that the architects are working on a lexicon for a new form of architecture in South Tyrol. Their highly recognizable exteriors correspond to a precise interior identity reaching a new synthesis of the rustic image of the mountain hut with the trendy spa. To ensure continuity and stay true to tradition, wood is also present in all the interiors, with interlocking oak plank floors and wood paneling recreating the “tube”, the traditional living room of alpine houses, heated by a wood fire. But wood is interpreted in a new way, in combination with brightly colored fabrics and furniture. The style of the seats, armchairs, coffee tables and sofas in the reception and bar are particularly comfortable, seeming to be inspired by the style of an urban interior. It is a form of domesticity that rejects simplicity in favor of luxury, care and comfort. At the reception, the architects highlighted the personality of the owners by exhibiting family treasures, crafts, furs and stuffed animals, as in a “curiosity cabinet” evoking Alpine folklore. Here and there in the common areas are works by local artists such as Michael Sailstorfer, Philipp Messner, Roland Senender, and Hubert Kostner himself.
Since 2010, Icaro has been the first hotel in the Dolomites to achieve zero climate impact. Energy is obtained from hydroelectric plants, with gas heating, ecological cleaning products and compensation of CO2 emissions through certified climate protection programs. The hotel is qualified for the EU Ecolabel certification of sustainable and conscious environmental management.
Architects: MoDusArchitects (Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol) www.modusarchitects.com
Team: Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol, Filippo Pesavento
Location: Piz 18/1, Alpe di Siusi, Castelrotto, Bolzano, Italy
Client: Angelika Sattler
Design phase: 2018-2021
Construction phase 1: 2020 (staff building, swimming pool, underground parking)
Construction phase 2: 2021 (east wing with 8 guest rooms, renovation of ground floor interiors, new roof and facade)
Completion: August 2021
Total hotel (5,040 m²); total new additions (underground level 1,360 m², upper levels 550 m²)
Structural engineering. Ulrich Kauer (KS Engineering)
Mechanical Engineering. Kurt Tröbinger (KTB Engineering)
Electrical engineering. Mirko Beikircher (KTB Engineering)
Security engineering. Ulrich Kauer (KS Engineering)
Lighting advice: Lichtstudio Eisenkeil
Cost and contract management: HGV – Unternehmensberatung
Visual identity of the hotel: Camuffolab, Venezia
Hotel communication strategy: Anna Quinz and Kunigunde Weissenegger franzLAB, Bolzano
General contractor: mahlknechtbau AB gmbh
Photographer: © Gustav Willeit
Photo Stylist: Anna Quinz
01-24: © Gustav Willeit
25: Icaro lodge from the 2000s © Courtesy of Icaro Hotel
26: MoDusArchitects Model of the facade of the Hotel Icaro © Jürgen Eheim