Icaro Hotel

A Wooden Collonade


From its humble beginnings as a mountain lodge (rifugio) in the 1930s to the successive additions that the family undertook over two generations, MoDusArchitects re-imagines the third generation Hotel Icaro as a stereometric volume in wood.

Commissioned by Angelika Sattler—grandaughter to Berta Wieser, founder of the original Icaro lodge, pioneering entrepreneur, and avid huntress—the various interventions of the project include the separate staff quarters’ building, an underground parking garage, the guest room wing addition, the reorganization of all the common areas, and the sweeping, giant order colonnade of wood that intercepts the breathtaking views of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

At the foothills of the Dolomites, Alpe di Siusi is a highland (plateau) that sits at the tenuous intersection of nature conservation and tourism.  With limited vehicular access, it is not only a geological wonder to behold with open meadows crowned by the jagged mountain profiles, but also a web of trails, ski slopes, chairlifts, lodges and hotels.  Anchored within this network lies Hotel Icaro—a stop along the crisscrossing hiking routes that sits squarely between the Monte Piz ski-lift just north and ski slope number 55 smack in front.  (Simpler than its predecessor in its volumetric articulation,) the reconfigured hotel carefully navigates the complexity and the responsibility that intervening in such a site entrails, while quietly tapping into the grandeur of the built heritage of hospitality architecture endemic to the area in the early 1900s.

The new wing mirrors the existing west wing along the axis of the original lodge to forge a symmetry of parts to whole relationship.  The thickened 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 entirety (/architectural body).  The 13 branching wood columns that march down the 55m length of the south-facing facade 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 winged building to define an airy, double-height loggia that extends the interior spaces of the guest rooms outwards.  At the ground level, a clearly defined throughway unravels a lively sequence of eclectic spaces along the length of the building: entry, reception, shop, lounge, common areas, bar, buffet and dining hall all participate in the colorful exchange amongst guest, visitors, outdoor enthusiasts and the Sattler family.

The interiors of Hotel Icaro are a contemporary kaleidoscope of forms, colors and materials that stand outside the canons of alpine interior design.  Objects, animals, and hospitality accoutrements participate as protagonists in a congenial space of surprise and delight.  The continuous, acoustic felt finishing of the ceiling at the ground level interprets the characteristic paneling of the alpine stube to create a quiet, all-enveloping environment.  The yellow moulding of the ceiling structures the spatial sequence along the backbone of the hotel in an orthogonal tango with the braided patterning of the oak wood flooring.  Along the main throughway, the criss-crossing of the planked paving register the winged angles of the hotel, playfully weaving together new and old along the way.


Alpe di Siusi (BZ), 2021


Angelika Sattler

Project Team

Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol, Filippo Pesavento