A facade of debarked tree trunks, a mountain side vista, exquisite interior design and a striking cantilevered swimming pool are just a few of the notable features of the Hotel Hubertus, a family-owned hotel in Northern Italy recently re-designed by Network of Architecture.
The Hotel Hubertus is located in Valdaora, at the foot of the famous ski and hiking area Kronplatz in the Puster Valley at an altitude of about 1350 m. The family establishment was generously enhanced and enlarged with 16 new suites, a new kitchen with restaurants and “Stuben”, an entrance area with lobby, reception and wine cellar and a fitness and a relaxation room with panoramic terraces.
By creating an unified, rhythmically alternating facade with native larch tree trunks noa* connects “old and new” in a consistent manner. The homogeneous appearance, following the natural topography of the area, creates the theatrical base for the design of the new, cantilevering pool, functioning as a connector between old and new, underlines the essence of this comprehensive renovation and renewal project.
The design of the newly constructed part of the building is orientated typologically on the already existing curved accommodation wing. Further the fluid shape of the new design, which becomes especially evident in plan view, follows the topography of the existing landscape with its slope and steep contour lines.
The key challange in the project was to create a link between the existing building and the new design, in order to keep a uniformal and consistent appearance.
-Andreas Profanter, Partner, NOA
A Facade of Tree Trunks
The debarked larch trunks, which were used as multi-functional facade elements for the existing and new building, succeed in creating this optical link between both while maintaining the homogeneous appearance of the project. Aside from supporting the dynamics of the curved facade, they also function as sun screens, room dividers and rain protectors, further enhancing the feeling of privacy and in addition to this forming the static basis for the cantilevering pool and facade.
The facade design with debarked tree trunks also continues on the new entrance area, which with its design as a rotunda allows a maximum of natural light to flow into the building. Topographic curves can be seen as the key influence for the design process and are not only evident on the outside but also on the inside of the building.
The new perforated, powder-coated metal balustrades replace the old wooden ones and are fixed in a fluid, curvy manner. A warm, gray brown earth tone, derived from the surrounding landscape forms the colour palette for the elements of the facade. With these earthy tones and perforation, the balustrades allow access to the mountain view while at the same time enhancing the feeling of privacy. This colour scheme was also used for the whole facade, creating a homogeneous building envelope.
An Exquisite Interior
The new rooms in the annex with their glazed front and east facing-balcony allow for natural lighting. Contemporary interpreted stoves in the rooms create a living room atmosphere, while debarked wooden room dividers create a link to the exterior and its facade. Lastly also the curves of the balcony follow the main theme of the fluid gesture, and celebrate the project as one, which through the conversion and new construction stands in a strong connection to the surrounding landscape.
In the existing garden at basement level, the new scarped circular relaxation room, fits seamlessly into the existing exterior garden area. Also in this part of the project the design follows the language of the accommodation wing and entrance area. The roof of the relaxation room is fully glazed and covered radially with wooden beams. A loose distribution of the beams allows for excellent views through the glass roof.
A Cantilevered Swimming Pool
The new pool, which imposingly rests in-between the two accommodation wings, seems like a floating rock, come to rest at the site, overlooking the valley. The hidden edges of the pool, kept in anthracite-coloured stone, abolish the gap between pool and landscape, creating the impression of the water flowing into nothing, disappearing between pool and landscape. Without any visible borders, a width of 5m, a length of 25m and a depth of 1,30m the over 17m cantilevering pool can be seen as completely unique. The position of the pool, which floats 12m above the ground, at its extreme edge, gives the swimmer the feeling of floating – weightlessly between heaven and earth. This impression is further reinforces by the glass front and a glazed window on the bottom of the pool.