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Icaro Hotel / MoDusArchitects

Architect: MoDusArchitects
Place: Alpe di Siusi, Castelrotto, Bolzano, Italy
Year: 2021
Photographer: Gustav Willeit
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At the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains and nestled within a web of ski slopes and hiking trails, MoDusArchitects has revamped Icaro Hotel as a stereometric volume in wood that quietly adds a new fragment to the built heritage of hospitality architecture of this unique protected area.

Positioned on the Alpe di Siusi plateau at 1.900m above sea level and set within South Tyrol’s Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage site, the hotel’s humble origins date back to a simple 1930s mountain lodge.Today, architectural firm MoDusArchitects has renovated the structure and its identity. The various interventions include an underground parking extension, the separate staff quarters, a guest room addition, the reorganization of all of the common spaces including the pool area, and the sweeping, giant order colonnade of wood along the main façade that intercepts the breathtaking mountain views.

In plan, the new addition mirrors the existing west wing along the axis of the original lodge to forge a symmetry of parts to the whole relationship. On the outside, the thickened saw-toothed larch-wood skin, together with the large pitched wooden roof and the timber columns, constitute an ordering system that subsumes the myriad of past modifications into a cohesive architectural body.

The 13 branching wood columns 7.5 meters high that march down the 55m length of the south-facing facade and span over the two upper floors are structural elements that tie the roof into place and serve as a middle-ground frame through which guests measure themselves up against the architecture and the landscape. The first floor terrace draws a straight line across the two far corners of the building to define an airy, double-height loggia that extends the interior spaces of the guest rooms outwards.

At the ground level, down the length of the building, a clearly defined throughway unravels a succession of common areas: entry, reception, shop, lounge, bar and dining hall. The eclectic convergence of materials, textures and fixed furniture elements string the programs together and rescripts the collective memory of traditional alpine interior spaces. While the wood lined dining alcoves with banquette seating conjure up the hospitality of long-established lodge interiors, the monolithic, cloudy-grey marble of the buffet table and bar counter anchor the defining moments of gastronomical delight at the center of this spatial continuum.

From the main staircase at the circulation core of the hotel, visitors access the guest rooms, including the four new rooms distributed on 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 rooms are shaped by angled cabinetry elmwood walls that contain wardrobes, upholstered niches, powder rooms and hidden shower rooms. At either ends of these two rooms lie the Lux and Grandangolo whose wider scope settings accommodate up to four guests and feature custom made beds facing the floor to ceiling windows overlooking Alpe di Siusi. Several suites on the second level were adapted to accommodate the new roof while a new massage area with a sheltered yoga terrace was added to this level.

At the lower level, the swimming pool area makes the most of the change in grade and is entirely reconfigured to accommodate a new pool in direct connection with the outdoor spaces. The numerous, existing structural supports found at this level are regimented into a robust procession of tiled columns that transform a formerly compromised space into one of tranquility.

Between the existing sauna and the new pool, a portion of the relaxation zone is redesigned to afford a higher level of
privacy with a cast in place concrete wall clad in the recognizable frames of wooden profiles that feature insertions of “crying”, melted wax—an artistic installation by Hubert Kostner in an interpretation of the mythological story of

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 forth all of the goodness and imagination that comes out of travel and to bolster the sense of discovery and freedom that alpine landscapes emote.

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