Zallinger: a scattered Hotel at high altitude

With the renovation and expansion of the Zallinger Refuge at the Seiser Alm/ Alpe di Siusi, a new model of hospitality was born and serving as a good example of responsible tourism.

An example of a historical and landscape recovery intervention in a high mountain context. The nineteenth-century barns are reborn as mini-chalets, which bring back the charm of an alpine village. The South Tyrolean tradition is combined with comfort, quality of design and sustainability. The ClimaHotel was built with maximum environmental protection in every aspect of the construction. The project, designed by noa*, an architecture studio in South Tyrol that has long been committed to developing innovative models of receptivity and green tourism (they were recently included by Dezeen in the short list of the 20 emerging international architecture firms for the year 2018).


The aim was to improve the quality and accommodation capacity of an old high mountain hotel structure without altering the delicate landscape and environmental balance, while at the same time creating aesthetic value and sustainability. This was noa*s (network of architecture) goal in the planning and expansion of the Zallinger Refuge in the Alpe di Siusi area.

The project, completed in 2017, has created new spaces without altering the existing volumes, and at the same time has returned to the historic settlement with the characteristic of the original small village. Through the solutions and materials adopted, the magic of that era was brought back to life, in both respect for the environment and traditions.

Architect Stefan Rier explains:
“In this project we have also tried to bring out that strong relationship between architecture and context, which characterizes all our works. We want to propose new models of life and hospitality that on the one hand recover traditional forms and materials, on the other hand express quality of design, high levels of comfort and sustainability. The alpine environment is a complex and fascinating system that must be understood and respected. We think it’s important to think of new spaces and ways to inhibit it: environments on a human scale, comfortable, welcoming, but above all unique and authentic”.

The central body of the historic lodge has been maintained but completely redesigned in the internal layout of the ground floor: the new interior design incorporates the reception, the lobby, the lounge and the restaurant. The restaurant and the lounge area have been designed to accommodate external guests as well: many skiers stop for lunch, seeing as the refuge is located on the main ski slopes of the Alpe di Siusi mountain range, while the lounge is very popular during the evenings. However, hotel guests can count on a more private and familiar area, which is focused around the large fireplace.


The wellness area stands in place of the pre-existing barn, as an independent building, with a metal-plated structure branches out, that houses the sauna, an awe-evoking environment, from the spatial point of view, with two large windows overlooking the landscape: the first looks towards the valley; the second opens on Mount Sassopiatto, with an inclination of 45 degrees (to allow the snow, during heavy snowfall, to flow to the base of the frame, leaving the view free). A relaxation area with a small distribution of hot and cold drinks completes the range of services, adding to the sense of comfort.


The design recalls the peaks of the mountains that rise towards the sky: the wooden shelves, in fact, create a sort of bookcase, characterized by inclined upright crafts of wood and elongated compartments that accommodate the individual bottles of wine (the refined choice of labels is personally selected by the sommelier owner).


The heating and hot water supply are obtained through the installation of a pallet boiler, which guarantees ‘zero impact’ on CO2 in the atmosphere. A buried silo allows you to store the pallet during the summer season and then be consumed in winter.

The interiors are certified for a total reduction of the Radom indoor concentration.
The guesthouse and the new spaces have obtained the seal of sustainability ClimaHotel, the certification of the Climate House Agency of the Province of Bolzano that distinguishes the accommodation facilities capable of promoting sustainable development both through the integration of the most innovative and ecological technologies and with strategic measures in the management. (text: Laura Ragazzola, journalist and consultant)


The bar area is characterized by a huge fir tree-trunk (local essence) as a counter: a solution that brings the presence of nature inside the building with its beauty, primordial strength and its complexity in structure.
Great attention has also been given to the lighting in this project. Precision in the functional aspect and careful design choice in the aesthetics (as in the bar lights produced by the Spanish company Marset).

The studio was founded in 2011 by Lukas Rungger and Stefan Rier in Bolzano (Italy); in 2018 a second office was inaugurated in Berlin (Germany). Noa * is a network of young architects and designers, which explores an interdisciplinary approach to each project and a holistic strategy for constructive and material choices. The dialogue with the landscape is an important aspect for all of noa*’s work, which interprets the alpine tradition according to a contemporary language aimed at a continuous aesthetic and formal research.
Recently Dezeen, one of the most important and influential websites of design and architecture, has included noa*’s studio in South Tyrol in the short list of the 20 emerging architecture studios of 2108 on an international level.


Authors: noa (network of architecture)
Client: Berghaus Zallinger, Luisa Schenk & Burger Markus
Photos: Alex Filz
Year of completion: 2017
Location: Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi, Saltria, Italy
Total area: 1.870 m2

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