With a wooden colonnade, the Hotel Icaro on the Alpe di Siusi plateau, deeply renovated by MoDusArchitects project, marks the Dolomite Mountains landscape with dynamic rigor, between ski slopes and hiking trails

At the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains and nestled within a web of ski slopes and hiking trails, Icaro Hotel has been redesigned by the studio MoDusArchitects as a stereometric volume in wood which, thanks to a dynamic scan of branching columns which extends over the main facade, fits firmly but respectfully into the landscape alpine. If the sculptural exteriors stand rigorous and imposing, the interiors are set with pieces with a folkloristic soul, lit by the intense Persian blue and lined with wooden alcoves that host inviting (and vivid) sofas, echoing the warm and enveloping environments of the typical mountain refuges.

An alpine alchemy

An eclectic and lively place, Icaro Hotel is an alchemy of contemporary architecture, design, hospitality, tradition, art, craftsmanship and heritage. Each space is framed to bring forth all of the goodness and imagination that comes out of travel and to bolster the sense of discovery and freedom that alpine landscapes emote.

Location and history 

Positioned on the Alpe di Siusi (Alto Adige) plateau at 1.900 m above sea level, the hotel’s humble origins date back to a simple 1930s mountain lodge. Granddaughter to the founder of the original Icaro lodge, Angelika Sattler commissioned MoDusArchitects to overhaul the structure and reimagine its identity.

Project interventions

The various interventions include an underground parking extension, the separate staff quarters, a guest room addition, the reorganization of all of the common spaces including the pool area, and the sweeping, giant order colonnade of wood along the main façade that intercepts the breathtaking mountain views.

A unitary architectural body

In plan, the new addition mirrors the existing west wing along the axis of the original lodge to forge a symmetry of parts to the whole relationship. On the outside, the thickened saw-toothed larch-wood skin, together with the large pitched wooden roof and the timber columns, constitute an ordering system that subsumes the myriad of past modifications into a cohesive architectural body.

The branching wood columns frame the rooms

The 13 branching wood columns 7.5 meters high that march down the 55m length of the south-facing facade and span over the two upper floors are structural elements that tie the roof into place and serve as a middle-ground frame through which guests measure themselves up against the architecture and the landscape. The first floor terrace draws a straight line across the two far corners of the building to define an airy, double-height loggia that extends the interior spaces of the guest rooms outwards.

The succession of common areas

In the hall, which occupies the entire ground floor, there are various common areas: entry, reception, shop, lounge, bar and dining. Here, the typical alpine interior design is updated - and livened up - from materials, textures, colors and fixed furnishings. While the wood lined dining alcoves with banquette seating conjure up the hospitality of long-established lodge interiors, the monolithic, cloudy-grey marble of the buffet table and bar counter anchor the defining moments of gastronomical delight at the center of this spatial continuum.

The transformation of the stube into wood

The characteristic coffering of the alpine wood stube (the traditional, stove heated farmhouse living room) is revisited with an all-enveloping surface of acoustic-felt panels partitioned by notched, intersecting yellow moulding profile. The overhead paneling communicates with the braided texture of the oak planked flooring.

Family heirlooms, works of art and disparate objects

Embedded within the interiors of the hotel lie stories, family heirlooms, and a celebration of contemporary artistic endeavors and artisanal know-how. The reception, shop and lounge area are designed as a full-height, thickened wainscoting of oak panels and deep blue recesses that collect a disparate range of subjects much like a cabinet of curiosities. The juxtaposition of animals, books, art, objects and hospitality accoutrements explore the folkloric otherness of the local culture. In this ethos of collection and display, and in occasion of the re-opening, Icaro Hotel has launched a new exhibition series curated by the artist Hubert Kostner whereby authors are invited to present their work to the international guests.

The rooms communicate with the vastness of the Alpe di Siusi

Located on the upper floors, some rooms have been refurbished, others have been added. Monocular and Telescope, in particular, are configured to project the ' intimacy private environments in a continuous dialogue with the vastness of the surrounding landscape; a lining them, warm elm walls containing wardrobes, upholstered niches, mirrors, dressing tables and hidden showers. The large Lux and Grandangolo rooms are equipped with custom-made beds oriented towards the glass walls which offer a view spectacular on the Alpe di Siusi has also been added a massage area with terrace blanket for practicing yoga.

The wellness area faces the Sciliar massif

At the lower level, the wellness area with an indoor swimming pool makes the most of the slope of the outdoor land: it has been entirely redesigned to open up to the spectacular panorama of the Sciliar massif. The numerous pre-existing structural elements have been regimented by a new compositional geometry and a sophisticated glossy mosaic cladding that lend rest and measure to a previously compromised space.

On the lower floor, the new services functions and volumes

The lower level is a labyrinthine plan of service functions that support the workings of the hotel above but with the addition of the underground garage, this level also becomes a new point of entry. MoDusArchitects worked to carve out a clear circulation route from the parking to the vertical circulation core with the requested programs of ski room and e-bike charging stations along the way. The new garage not only makes for a car free arrival area for the hotel, but also mitigates the visual impact of the hotel within the landscape.

A path in continuity

At this basement level, MoDusArchitects has drawn up a whole new 2-story volume for the staff accommodations that takes on the tones of the main house, in continuity with the gray plastered facade of the original ground floor elevation.