Architecture studio, noa* - network of architecture in Bolzano, Italy, won first prize in the

“Public and Service Construction” category at the 11th Edition of The Grand Prix Casalgrande Padana for Hotel Hubertus, which features Casalgrande Padana’s Amazzonia porcelain stoneware collection.

Hotel Hubertus is situated at the foot of the famous Kronplatz skiing resort in the Puster Valley at an altitude of around 1,350 meters. As part of redevelopment and expansion works at the hotel, noa* -- founded by architects Lukas Rungger and Stefan Rier, and specializing in hotel construction and renovation in Alto Adige -- opted for stone-effect porcelain stoneware tiles from the Amazzonia collection in the “Dragon Black” and “Dragon Green” colors for a total surface area of 2,700 square meters.

One of the unique challenges involved in the project was to maintain architectural coherence between the existing building and the new structure, in an attempt to create a feel of uniformity between the old and the new.

Much of the hotel was completely rebuilt as part of the work, which saw the addition of 16 new suites, a new kitchen with restaurants and traditional stube parlor rooms, an entrance hall with lobby, a reception area, a wine cellar, a gym, and a relaxation area featuring terraces with panoramic views.

For the interiors, the architects opted for the “Dragon Green” and “Dragon Black” colors from the Amazzonia collection. The 30- x 60- and 60- x 60-cm formats were chosen to help create spaces, which feel complete yet flow into one another.

However, the most significant part of the project is the outdoor swimming pool. A triumph of engineering and architecture, the pool -- with dimensions of 25 meters in length, five meters in width and 1.63 meters in depth -- is suspended 17 meters off the ground at its highest point, supported by huge wooden beams.

Completely tiled with porcelain stoneware tiles from the Amazzonnia collection, the enchanting infinity pool seems suspended between the sky and the earth, looking out over the Dolomites valley below. The stone-effect porcelain stoneware tiles in the “Dragon Black” color work wonderfully with the stunning natural surroundings of the mountains, merging seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.

A high-impact presence in the magical panorama of the Puster Valley, the infinity pool juts out over the void, supported by four metal joists clad with wood.

The walls of the swimming pool, which are covered with porcelain stoneware tiles, and the larch supports help the structure to blend in with the surrounding landscape, like a natural lake. Standing at the foot of a mountain, it is utterly immersed in the splendid, magical surroundings of the Dolomites.

Suspended 12 meters off the ground at the far end, swimmers have the impression of floating in mid-air -- a sensation amplified by the glass front wall and a small section of the bottom also in transparent glass. The window, which is situated towards the far end of the pool, allows swimmers to see straight through, adding a further level of spectacle to a truly unique structure.

Following the curves of the building, new powder-coated metal railings with perforated grills have replaced the old wooden railings, mirroring the color of the surrounding area.

The architects made great effort to get a feel for the area and try to incorporate its special spirit into the project. With these principles as the guiding force, the aim of the project was to bring a new identity to the structure by building on the characteristics of the existing hotel. The team from noa* was determined to respect the untouched natural surroundings and local traditions while staying to its signature innovative style.

Every element of the existing structure was revisited and rebalanced with the modern structure, as part of an endless dialogue with the surrounding landscape.

Alpin Panorama Hotel Hubertus

Sorafurcia, Valdaora, Italy

Architect: noa* - network of architecture, Bolzano, Italy

Tile Supplier: Casalgrande Padana, Casalgrande, Italy (Amazzonia collection in “Dragon Black” and “Dragon Green”)