Hotel Icaro / MoDusArchitects
Text description provided by the architects. At the foot of the Dolomites mountains and nestled in a network of ski slopes and hiking trails, MoDusArchitectswww.modusarchitects.com renovated the Hotel Icaro www.hotelicaro.com like a stereometric wooden volume that quietly adds a new fragment to the built heritage of the welcoming architecture of this unique protected area.
Situated on the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) plateau at 1,900m above sea level and within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the South Tyrolean Dolomites, the hotel’s humble origins date back to a simple 1930s mountain lodge. Granddaughter of the founder of the original Icaro lodge, Angelika Sattler commissioned MoDusArchitects to overhaul the structure and reinvent its identity. The various interventions include an underground parking extension, separate staff quarters, a guest bedroom addition, the reorganization of all common areas including the swimming pool, and the vast giant wooden colonnade along the main facade which intercepts the breathtaking mountain. views.
In plan, the new addition mirrors the existing west wing along the axis of the original pavilion to forge a symmetry from part to whole relationship. On the exterior, the thickened sawtooth larch wood skin, together with the large pitched wooden roof and wooden columns, form a system of ordering that subsumes the myriad past alterations into a cohesive architectural body. The 13 branching wooden columns 7.5 meters high that descend over the 55 m long south-facing facade and span the upper two floors are structural elements that hold the roof in place and serve as a frame intermediary through which the guests measure themselves. against architecture and landscape. The first floor terrace draws a straight line through the two distant corners of the building to define an airy, double-height loggia that extends the interior spaces of the guest rooms outwards.
On the ground floor, over the entire length of the building, a well-defined circulation unfolds a succession of common spaces: entrance, reception, shop, lounge, bar and dining room participate in the colorful exchange between guests, visitors, outdoor enthusiasts and the Sattler Family. The eclectic convergence of materials, textures and fixed furniture elements links the programs and rewrites the collective memory of traditional Alpine interior spaces. While wood-lined alcoves with bench seating evoke the hospitality of long-established lodge interiors, the monolithic cloudy gray marble of the buffet table and bar counter anchors defining moments of gastronomic delight at the center of this spatial continuum. . Likewise, the characteristic formwork of alpine wood tube (the traditional stove-heated farmhouse living room) is revisited with a wrap-around surface of acoustic felt panels partitioned by a notched and criss-cross yellow molding profile. In tandem with the ceiling panelling, the braided texture of the oak plank parquet weaves together the mirrored angles of the hotel’s footprint in a subtle face-to-face between the old and the new.
Embedded within the hotel’s interiors are stories, heirlooms, and a celebration of contemporary artistic endeavors and craftsmanship. The reception, shop and lounge are designed as a thickened full-height paneling of oak panels and deep blue recesses that bring together a disparate range of subjects much like a cabinet of curiosities. The juxtaposition of people, animals, books, art, objects and hospitality amenities explores folklore otherness of the local culture. In this philosophy of collection and exhibition, and on the occasion of the reopening, the Hotel Icaro has launched a new series of exhibitions curated by the artist Hubert Kostner (whose house-studio was also designed by MoDusArchitects ) in which authors are invited to present their work to international guests.
From the main staircase in the hotel’s circulation core, visitors access the guest rooms, including the four new bedrooms spread over each of the two upper levels of the East wing. As evidenced by their names, the Monocular and Telescope rooms are viewing devices that inextricably link the intimacy of the rooms to the expanse of the landscape beyond; the bedrooms are shaped by elm wood walls of angled wardrobes which contain wardrobes, upholstered niches, wet rooms and hidden shower rooms. At either end of these two bedrooms are the Lux and the Grandangolo whose wider settings sleep up to four people and feature custom-made beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Alpe di Siusi. Several suites on the second level have been adapted to accommodate the new roof while a new massage area with a sheltered yoga terrace has been added to this level.
On the lower level, the swimming pool area takes advantage of the change in level and is completely reconfigured to accommodate a new pool in direct connection with the outdoor spaces. The many existing structural supports found at this level are regimented in a robust procession of tiled columns that transform a once compromised space into one of tranquility. Between the existing sauna and the new swimming pool, part of the relaxation area is redesigned to provide a higher level of privacy with a cast-in-place concrete wall clad in the recognizable frames of wooden profiles that feature “weep” inserts “, melted wax—an art installation by Hubert Kostner in an interpretation of the mythological story of Icarus.
The lower level is a labyrinthine plane of service functions that support the operation of the hotel above but with the addition of the underground garage this level also becomes a new entry point. MoDusArchitects worked to lay out a clear circulation route from the car park to the vertical circulation core with the requested programs of ski storage and e-bike charging stations along the way. The new garage not only provides a car-free arrival zone for the hotel, but also lessens the visual impact of the hotel in the landscape. Finally, in this basement, MoDusArchitects designed a brand new volume on 2 floors for staff accommodation which takes up the tones of the main house, in continuity with the gray plaster facade of the original elevation of the ground floor. floor.
An eclectic and lively place, Icaro Hotel is an alchemy of contemporary architecture, design, hospitality, tradition, art, craftsmanship and heritage. Each space is framed to bring out all the goodness and imagination that comes from travel and to reinforce the sense of discovery and freedom that alpine landscapes exude.