NOA Network of Architecture
It is only by investigating the unexpected that one can understand the choices behind this ambitious architectural project, at once spectacular and unique in its exclusive melding of the natural environment with the most sophisticated standards of contemporary hotel hospitality.
Located in Valdaora in the Val Pusteria, it offers splendid views of the skyline of the Dolomites and in particular the Vedrette di Ries group, while behind it stands the mountain Plan de Corones (Kronplatz), where on the 2275-metre-high summit Reinhold Messner commissioned Zaha Hadid to design the iconic Messner Mountain Museum devoted to traditional mountaineering.
Popular with mountain lovers since the 1960s, Hotel Hubertus recently underwent radical remodelling and expansion work carried out by Bolzano and Berlin-based practice NOA Network of Architecture, a project that reaffirms the hotel’s unique status within the local area. The architecture firm made a vital contribution, winning first prize in the “Public and service building” category of the 11th Grand Prix – Casalgrande Padana international architecture competition.
NOA “is committed to research against boredom in architecture” through “a radical conception of the connection between time and space”. The project was considered “a multidisciplinary solution inspired simultaneously by various experiments”. As Lukas Rungger, founder of the partnership together with Stefan Rier, explained: “We see ourselves a little like a workshop open to collaboration, driven by experimentation and curiosity. Of course we encounter difficulties, but we make every effort to overcome, resolve and redefine them.”
The design challenge for Hotel Hubertus testifies eloquently to this approach in terms of both aesthetics and technological solutions. The existing hotel was renovated and expanded with the addition of a new wing consisting of 16 suites, a fitness and relaxation area complete with spa, and large panoramic terraces, creating an integrated system of 6 indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Rounding off the project are the new reception hall and lounges, the Stube, the new restaurant kitchens and a modern wine cellar. For the finishings, the architects made extensive use of natural materials such as wood, while a key role was played by large-size porcelain tiles from the Amazzonia collection by Casalgrande Padana, chosen in colours Dragon Green and Dragon Black.
The complex building fits into the topography of the site, following its contour lines through the organic extension of the façade profile, which integrates the old and new buildings to create an envelope in which the verticality of the larch trunks dominating the façade contrasts with the sinuous horizontal movement of the arcades.
And like a platform jutting out into the void from which we can open our wings and take flight, a spectacular 25-by-5 metre swimming pool soars above the landscape at a height of 12 metres and with a 17-metre overhang, clad entirely with Amazzonia collection porcelain tiles in the colour Dragon Black from Casalgrande Padana. The sensation of liquid vertigo is enhanced by the pool’s infinity edges, its immaterial front wall consisting of a sheet of glass and a rectangular porthole on the bottom, where, in the words of the Italian poet Leopardi, “immensity is drowned; And sweet to me is shipwreck on this sea”.
Casalgrande Padana, Amazzonia
Dragon Black Dragon Green
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): < 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): > 45 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 Naturale R12 A+B+C Grip
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant