by Anmol AhujaFeb 17, 2021
The Apfelhotel (Applehotel), as the name suggests, draws inspiration from the native culture of apple cultivation in the region of Torgglerhof in Italy. Noa* (network of architecture), a Berlin-based firm, has designed this novel retreat that evokes the vintage charm of the historical hotel while creating an oasis for the senses within a natural setting. Through the design of the Apfelhotel, the young new generation of owners has attempted to break new ground while staying true to their traditional roots.
The apple, a fruit that originated in Kazakhstan and was brought to South Tyrol in Italy by the Romans, is a part of the region’s cultural landscape. Surrounded by scenic views, the Apfelhotel reflects the passion of its family-owners, whose aim is to make visitors feel at home. Together with noa*, the architecture has been created with a sense of integrity, which becomes one with nature, ties in with its history, and maintains its own identity through applied design that occasionally offers glimpses of the apple trees in its environs.
noa* won the design competition in 2014 for expanding the hotel’s existing structure and in 2016, the main building with the restaurant as well as the old barn were dismantled and renovated. Further the Apfelsauna (applesauna), the first feature of the wellness and relaxation landscape was also expanded. Recently in 2020, 18 suites were built and carefully designed to fit into the farmyard’s landscape structure while complementing the rural surroundings, and concluding the entire development. Throughout the design, a special emphasis has been placed on preserving the characteristics of the farmhouse ensemble and maintaining its scale.
As the central masterpiece of this rural development, noa* designed a wellness area with architecture and greenery that resembles a modern lush garden. Through this interface, between the surface and the subsurface, the word immersion takes on a meaning of its own. A ‘green heart’, much like the apple-shaped sauna, integrates itself smoothly into the landscape. The new wellness facility blends into a natural green slope such that the building becomes one with its context. The entrance to the new spa is a curved semi-exposed concrete shell that tucks into the natural form, while the south-side vanishes underneath a blanket of rooftop greenery. Behind the original façade of the barn, beneath the guest rooms, Apfelhotel produces various home-grown apples.
The new wellness area called Brunnenhaus (a well house) also has a central drinking fountain made from natural-stone and an open fireplace. The part-indoor part-outdoor pool stretches out through the overgrown green façade and is partially framed with Lucerne metamorphic gneiss rock. The upper floor features a steam bath, which has a cave-like character, with droplets collected in a clay pot due to the ceiling that inclines towards the room’s centre.
Nature and the characteristics of the region play an important role in the interior design. The suites on the ground floor blend effortlessly into the topography. The saddle roofs of the garden suites absorb the architectural language of their surroundings and the façade combines tradition with modern aesthetics. The buildings’ outer shell has been deliberately kept dark in an ode to the traditional character of a barn house.
Unique features such as a swing bed and use of attic gables have been incorporated with a country flair. Wood cladding, milling, and coarse natural fibres are used throughout the entire inner décor. In every room, a unique atmosphere has been created by meticulous attention to detail in design - with elements such as the metal banister custom-built to combine aesthetics and function.
The concept of the restaurant’s expansion centres around the principle of three rooms or ‘cubes’ with differing heights. The inner décor is based on the theme of a modern winter garden the ceiling offers a unique structure on which plants and lighting can be flexibly hung. The open space has been divided by loose old-styled cupboards and floor-to ceiling permeable shelves. These features create a cosy and inviting living room atmosphere. A natural spring water fountain and tables and chairs in the light-filled rooms defy the usual stereotype, creating a lively and refreshing appeal.
Name: Apfelhotel (Applehotel), Torgglerhof, Italy
Typology: Hotel, wellness
Location: Saltaus, St. Martin im Passeier (Italy)
Client: Apfelhotel Torgglerhof, Family Pichler
Architecture: noa* network of architecture
Interior design: noa* network of architecture
Time (construction to completion) November 2019-May 2020
Volume: 12000 sqm
Surface area: 2.890 sqm