Behind every building are stories, memories, emotional ties. Which the owners often do not know how to renounce when it is necessary to renovate and refurbish the original architecture. In Val Pusteria, in Casteldarne, the Falkensteiner family owns a historic hotel, opened in 1957, a family resort that has gradually expanded to cater for families with children. A hotel that wanted to renew itself without losing its identity.
Starting with the roof
In his De Architectura, Vitruvius argues that the building must fit harmoniously into the natural environment because architecture is an imitation of nature. The noa* designers' solution started with the roof: the traditional pitched roof was replaced by a wave structure that covers new and existing volumes, sloping down until it disappears. A hill integrated with the landscape, covered by vegetation, which becomes a ski slope, skating rink, play area.
Combining old and modern
"We wanted to unite old and new in a uniform whole," explains architect Andreas Profanter. "The new roof of the Falkensteiner Family Resort Lido allowed us to connect the various buildings in the complex and link them with the surrounding nature. But also to invent new spaces, such as the ski slope, which enrich the offer to families".
The roof spans a length of 300 metres over an area of 4,900 square metres and, in its central part, reaches a height of 18 metres. An innovative element in terms of shape, dimensions and materials. Made of reinforced concrete in the new construction, where it rests on the existing building, a system of steel beams and wood has been adopted instead. It is clad with metal shingles that follow the curves and undulations of the roof.
Playing on the roof
On the large roof of the Falkensteiner Family Resort Lido, there is a loop trail along which guests can stroll and a leisure park for sports and fun. The east side is occupied by the 163-metre-long ski slope with lift carpet: the artificial bottom allows year-round use. On the west side, there is a large fitness area, a bobby car track and an elevated mini adventure park: below, a field for football, basketball and other activities.
Nature on the building
A 120-metre long water slide descends from the lake to an area in the basement occupied by play areas and the swimming pool: with its bright yellow spirals, it stands out against the landscape, becoming an iconic sign of the structure. Recreational spaces alternate with green areas in continuity with the woods. "We put nature on the roof," notes Profanter. "The aim was to strengthen the link between structure and landscape, without consuming land, creating new value and sustainability".
A new aesthetic
"Our idea was also to renew the appearance of the original Falkensteiner Family Resort Lido," explains architect Wolfgang Heinz. "We did not simply enclose the new and existing parts of the resort under one roof, but worked on the facades to make the different architectural elements homogeneous." Significant, in addition to the choice of a single colour for the wall structures, is the adoption of geometric patterns in natural wood that punctuate the building, evoking old alpine barns.
An artificial hill
The relationship between the resort and the lake has also been "redesigned", with the creation of an artificial hill (under which the Spa for adults is located) along one of the banks. A large terrace opens up facing the lake and towards the swimming pool: partially covered, it extends over the water mirror, allowing a true immersion in nature.
The interior design
noa* also designs the interior of the Falkensteiner Family Resort Lido, not only in the newly built, but also in the redesigned or extended existing buildings. "As with the exteriors, the desire to create a playful atmosphere for children and the desire to recall the natural environment around the resort guided the interior design," says interior designer Barbara Runggatscher. The restaurant, with its terrace and play area, has been organised on three levels to allow a view of the lake.
Each floor has its own style
"At each level, the furnishings change: they go from forest-inspired motifs to lily pad-shaped seats, to the reeds recalled by the shape of the lamps that illuminate the tables near the terrace," explains the designer. In the buffet area, built from scratch, the atmosphere of a market has been recreated, with differently shaped stations that take the form of little houses or wooden trolleys: different heights allow access for children and visibility of the kitchen areas and food preparation activities.
The entrance and reception area retain the original layout, with a new look: the presence of pillars has inspired a new décor characterised by round shapes, bright colours and decorations that recall flora and fauna. Finally, a cosy space with merry-go-rounds and swings for the little ones is flanked by a lounge dedicated to parents.
Number of rooms increased
The project added 36 new rooms to the existing 82 in the Falkensteiner Family Resort Lido. A new room type was defined, with different variations, to characterise the resort's offer for families. The rooms include an area for parents and one for children separated by a sliding partition, and a large bathroom with washbasins at different heights.
Room with nest
"In the children's area, three beds are always available, one of which, suspended from the ceiling, is a sort of nest-bed, inspired by the falcon, which is the symbol of the hotel: even when it is not occupied, it becomes an opportunity for the little ones to play and have fun," concludes interior designer Caterina Betti. Falkensteiner Family Resort Lido turns out to be a renovation that has become an opportunity to reinterpret tradition in a contemporary key, without losing charm and magic.
Photo: Alex Filz