Eco-Friendly Hotel Goes Underground in the Alps
Images: Matteo Thun
Italian architect Matteo Thun, whose Milan-based firm is known for a range of elegant architectural works, attractive interiors and stylish, flexible product designs (like this Transformer couch), has come up with a wonderfully unobtrusive way to enjoy the Alps: a mountainside hotel that is partially nestled underground, using local materials and passive design principles to heat and cool its interiors.
The hotel was done as an eco-conscious redesign of an existing hotel called the Bella Vista Trafoi in the northern Italian province of Bozen. Located on the side of a mountain slope in the National Park of Stelvio, the eleven individual units will sit as low-profile earthen bumps facing south, each topped with a generous overhang and green roof that helps regulate internal temperatures year-round, in addition to triple-pane windows, which are also useful for noise control. A ground-source heat pump utilizes the steady temperatures of a local spring to provide energy-efficient heating and cooling.
Reminiscent of a collection of Italian hobbit houses, except with a lot more glazing to take advantage of the uninterrupted mountain views, the new eco-hotel has been designated as a Klimahotel which "helps the tourist to follow the path of sustainability - in all different phases of the project development" and is projected to be completed in 2011.