Icaro Hotel / MoDus Architects
Text description of the architects. At the foothills of the Dolomites and embedded in a network of ski slopes and hiking trails, MoDusArchitectswww.modusarchitects.com has redesigned the Icaro Hotel www.hotelicaro.com as a stereometric volume in wood that quietly adds a new fragment to the built heritage of hospitality architecture of this unique sanctuary.
Located on the Alpe di Siusi plateau at 1,900 m above sea level and in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the South Tyrolean Dolomites, the hotel’s humble beginnings go back to a simple mountain hut from the 1930s. Angelika Sattler, granddaughter of the founder of the original Icaro Lodge, commissioned MoDusArchitects to overhaul the structure and redefine its identity. The various interventions include an underground parking garage extension, the separate staff quarters, a guest room annex, the reorganization of all common areas including the pool area and the curving, huge timber order colonnade along the main facade intercepting the breathtaking mountain views.
In plan, the new addition mirrors the existing west wing along the axis of the original lodge to create symmetry of parts throughout the relationship. On the outside, the thickened larch wood skin with saw teeth, together with the large gabled roof and the wooden supports, form a system of order that combines the countless conversions of the past into a closed architectural body. The 13 branching 7.5 meter high wooden columns that run down the 55 meter long south facade and span the two upper floors are structural elements that hold the roof in place and serve as a mid-ground frame through which guests measure themselves against the architecture and the landscape. The first-floor terrace draws a straight line across the two extreme corners of the building to define an airy, double-height loggia that extends the guest room interiors to the outside.
On the ground floor, a clearly defined passage along the building unfolds a sequence of common areas: entrance, reception, shop, lounge, bar and dining room take part in the colorful exchange between guests, visitors, outdoor enthusiasts and the public Sattler family. The eclectic convergence of materials, textures and solid furniture elements strings together the programs and rewrites the collective memory of traditional alpine interiors. While the wood-clad dining alcoves with bench seats evoke the hospitality of long-established lodge interiors, the monolithic, cloud-grey marble of the buffet table and bar counter anchors the defining moments of gastronomic indulgence at the center of this spatial continuum. Likewise the characteristic paneling of the alpine wood parlour (the traditional stove-heated farmhouse living room) is reimagined with an all-encompassing surface of acoustic felt panels, divided by notched, intersecting yellow trim. Along with the ceiling paneling, the woven texture of the oak plank flooring subtly weaves the mirrored angles of the hotel’s floor plan tête-à-tête between old and new.
Embedded within the hotel’s interiors lie stories, family heirlooms and a celebration of contemporary artistic endeavors and craftsmanship. The reception, shop and lounge area are designed as floor-to-ceiling, thick paneling made of oak panels and deep blue niches, which collect the most diverse themes like a cabinet of curiosities. The juxtaposition of people, animals, books, art, objects and hospitable decor explores folklore Be different the local culture. In this ethos of collecting and presenting, to mark the reopening, the Icaro Hotel has launched a new exhibition series curated by artist Hubert Kostner (whose in-house studio was also designed by MoDusArchitects), with authors invited to present their work for the international Guests.
From the main staircase in the hotel’s development core, visitors reach the guest rooms, including the four new rooms, which are spread over the two upper levels of the east wing. As their names suggest, the Monocular and Telescope rooms are viewing devices that inseparably combine the intimacy of the rooms with the vastness of the landscape beyond; the rooms are characterized by angled elm furniture that contains closets, padded alcoves, toilets and hidden shower rooms. At either end of these two spaces lie the Lux and the Grandangolo, whose broader setting accommodates up to four guests and features custom-made beds facing the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Alpe di Siusi. Several suites on the second level have been updated to fit the new roof, while a new massage area with a sheltered yoga terrace has been added on this level.
On the lower level, the pool area makes the most of the change in elevation and will be completely reconfigured to include a new pool in direct communication with the outdoor areas. The numerous existing structural supports found at this level are regimented into a sturdy procession of tiled columns, transforming a formerly impaired space into one of tranquillity. Between the existing sauna and the new pool, part of the relaxation zone is redesigned to offer a higher level of privacy, with a concrete wall poured on site, clad with the recognizable wooden profile frames, the insertions of “weeping”, molten have wax. an artistic installation by Hubert Kostner in an interpretation of the mythological story of Icarus.
The lower level is a labyrinthine plan of service functions that support the operations of the hotel above, but with the addition of the underground car park, this level also becomes a new entry point. MoDusArchitects worked to create a clear traffic route from the parking lot to the vertical traffic core with the desired programs of ski storage and e-bike charging stations along the way. The new garage not only creates a car-free arrival area for the hotel, but also softens the hotel’s visual impact in the landscape. Finally, in this basement, MoDusArchitects have designed an entirely new 2-storey volume for the staff quarters, adopting the tones of the main house, continuing the grey-plastered facade of the original ground-floor elevation.
The Icaro Hotel is an eclectic and vibrant place, an alchemy of contemporary architecture, design, hospitality, tradition, art, craftsmanship and heritage. Each space is designed to bring out all the goodness and imagination that travel brings, enhancing the sense of discovery and freedom that alpine landscapes exude.