Radical South Tyrol hotel redefines Alpine architecture

Peter Pichler
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Milan-based architect Peter Pichler composes a radical interpretation of South Tyrol’s traditional Alpine vernacular with the new Hotel Milla Montis in Maranza

The new Hotel Milla Montis in Maranza is set amidst the mountainous grandeur of Italy’s South Tyrol. Located at the head of the Puster Valley, a favourite spot for hikers, the hotel nestles amongst Alpine meadows in the foothills of the Dolomites. So far, so bucolic, but the form of this new structure is a radical interpretation from the region’s traditional vernacular.

Designed by the Milan-based Peter Pichler Architecture, the 30-room hotel presents itself as a cluster of four galleried terraces overlooking the spectacular landscape views, with each grouping set beneath a distinctive pitched roof. This gives the impression of a cluster of buildings, not just one monolithic structure, all the better to fit in with the centuries’ worth of timber structure scattered around these hills.

The architects cite the Alpine region’s classic wooden architecture as key inspiration, but the inverted arch layout on the two upper floors is an elegant twist, mirroring the inset, deep cut arches that provide shelter to the terraces on the lowest floor. These curved shapes are derived from one of the most common and ancient agricultural tools from the region, the traditional pitchfork. The nearby village of Maranza has its origins in farming, as do many of these small mountainside communities, and the hotel’s blackened wood façades evoke the region’s barns and shelters.

The hotel nestles into a South Tyrol hillside, with eight rooms, a spa and pool on the lower basement floor, fifteen more rooms on the lower ground floor above and the remainder of the rooms and dining spaces on the ground floor. This arrangement gives the impression of a single storey building from the north, with a ‘full’ south façade giving every interior space a view down the valley – the best rooms on the upper floor also have a freestanding bath with a view.

The interiors also update local traditions, combing light ash wood furniture and fittings with dark slate and splashes of green loden textiles on the dining and informal seating. Understated, elegant and effortlessly contemporary, Pichler has given Alpine architecture a new lease of life.

Radical South Tyrol hotel redefines Alpine architecture