The Zallinger Mountain Refuge, opened in the mid-19th century at an altitude of 2,200 meters at the foot of Mount Sassopiatto, was surrounded by seven barns and a small church. It has now been enlarged by the noa* architectural firm of Bolzano to restore its original hamlet layout, re-creating the traditional forms of the Alto Adige region’s high summer pastures for the modern age.
The new units consist of prefabricated wooden modules, custom-built to fit perfectly into their context. In fact, they reference the shape of the barns and are without visible glazed windows, a source of inappropriate dazzle in this high mountain location. The 24 rooms in the new chalets are added to the 13 already available in the refuge’s main building, also renovated on sustainability and responsible tourism lines.
The Hotel Zallinger has been awarded ClimaHotel certification and implements a mobility plan to restrict car traffic as far as possible.
“We want to suggest new models of life and hospitality, on the one hand recovering traditional forms and materials and on the other delivering high design quality and comfort and sustainability levels,” said architect, Stefan Rier of noa*. “The Alpine environment is a complex system and it is important to understand and respect it. We believe it is important to imagine new places where people can live in it: comfortable, welcoming but above all unique, authentic locations on a human scale.”
On the outsides of the new chalets, a system of sliding wooden panels over the windows allows them to be opened onto the spectacular Alpine scenery; when closed, the panels create attractive light and shade effects inside the rooms. Inside the chalets and the main building, the architects were lavish in their use of natural wood, which was applied to the floor and walls to evoke the mood of the traditional rooms heated by immense stoves.
In the most heavily used communal areas such as the lobby, the restaurant and the spa, included in the main complex, and in the bathrooms, which run seamlessly into the bedrooms, noa* chose Marazzi’s Mystone Pietra di Vals porcelain stoneware collection. The collection is an extremely realistic interpretation of the colors and surface patterning of this rare form of quartzite quarried in the Canton of Grisons, Switzerland. Available in three colors -- Greige, Antracite and Grigio -- and five sizes (60 x 120, 30 x 120, 75 x 75, 60 x 60, 30 x 60 and 40 x 120 cm in the 2-cm-thick variant), it can be installed both indoors and outdoors. Mystone Pietra di Vals combines the natural stone effect with easy care and excellent performance, as well as weather and wear resistance, which are particularly important factors in a high-altitude environment with extreme weather conditions.