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BUILDING
 
 
Vigilius Mountain Resort
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DESIGNER
 
 
Matteo Thun

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DESCRIPTION
 
Location & Architecture
Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortThe vigilius mountain resort is located at an altitude of 1,500 metres on the flanks of the legendary Vigiljoch - Lana’s landmark mountain, 8 kilometres from the city of Merano. At its base, marvellous views of the Valle d’Adige, the distant Dolomites and the surrounding mountain scenery. The vigilius was created here with nature as its role model, a modern structure made from the natural materials of wood, glass and stone. Nature sets the tone at the vigilius and determines the tact of daily life.

Arrive. Release. Rejoice. Simple words for a precious thought – to open oneself and draw new vigour and energy from the silent wisdom of nature. The vigilius mountain resort is like a mountain island. Vision means to have a free view of one’s self as unimportant things remain in the valley below.

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortThere is neither traffic nor noise, one hears merely the occasional rustling of the wind that breaks the silence of the mountains. The vigilius can only be reached by foot or by cable car - the second eldest in Europe - and is without compare at the international level.

The vigilius mountain resort was intended to be a re-interpretation of the “Berghotel Vigiljoch” (which means Chalet Mount S. Vigilio), built in 1912 which, due to its decayed structural substance, was forced to make way for the vigilius in 2000. What has since evolved is a new building made of wood which is one with its surroundings and constitutes a metamorphosis of nature and architecture.

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortTo accomplish his dream of realizing the vigilius, the charismatic Meran entrepreneur Ulrich Ladurner engaged the services of Matteo Thun, a worldwide renowned architect with South Tyrolean roots, refreshing farsighted visions and a deep respect for nature. These two charismatic men have motivated guests from all over the world to settle in at the vigilius.

Here, guests experience a feeling thought to have been lost a long time ago: the feeling of infinity and majesty, of cosiness and security, of ever reoccurring reliable elements. Naturally, one can sit on a mountain and enjoy the panoramic view of nature, but how much more enjoyable to be surrounded and sheltered by creative architecture, to feel immensity without being lost in space.

For Matteo Thun, the vigilius mountain resort represents a “living room beyond modernity”, a “secret hideout that fits into the landscape like the tree houses where children hideout and take shelter”. In this sense the compact volume of the vigilius resembles a huge fallen tree lying in the woods. This effect is intensified by the pronounced horizontal structure of the wooden lattice facade, which represents the bark of the fallen tree. This creates an ingenious balance between nature and architecture, tradition and modernity, between comfortable lifestyle and fascinating design. The architecture does not call attention to itself, nor does it rival its surroundings.

Thanks to the skilfulness of the architect, the differences between nature and architecture are reduced to a barely perceptible minimum.

Matteo Thun sought for the intellectual manifestation of nature in space and created a building that reflected his ideas and experiences.

A natural lifestyle is one of the special features at the vigilius mountain resort. The unadorned, graceful ambiance supports every attempt to clarify one’s own needs. Natural materials such as wood, clay, glass, and stone define the interior. Spacious rooms with panorama windows provide gorgeous views of the woods and mountains, bringing the nature indoors within the house.
Spaces
Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortOn the right side of the entrance, a service tract for kitchen, storage and heating burrows into the hill. On the left climbs the pitched gable of the Ida Parlour and the Restaurant 1,500 into the sky. With its historic timber beams and the Ida Parlour, which is also open for day guests, the “House beside the House” establishes an indispensable relationship with South Tyrolean culture and local cuisine, making the whole concept unique and irreplaceable. Only the bar in the Ida Parlour and the sharp-edged, sleek wooden tables and benches on the terrace in front set a modern note. From the Ida terrace the visitor enjoys spectacular views of the unique South Tyrolean mountain scenery.

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortDay guests may access the entrance area of the hotel from the terrace and the Ida Parlour in order to gain an appreciation of what makes the vigilius so desirable among sophisticated travellers.

Hotel guests enter the reception area through the hotel entrance, which leads directly to the entrée. This is where guests meet and encounter a racy mix of styles: a Canadian deer antler candelabra hangs above a floor of classy Vipiteno Silver Quartz; modern black and white cow skin sofas dominate the suites in the entrance lounge. Far in the background behind translucent glass panels in orange tones is the hotel reception, vaguely recognizable.

To the left side of the entrance lounge behind the swinging glass door that shields the area reserved for hotel guests, the larch wood finishing accomplishes what even in grand hotels is rarely achieved: it caresses one’s sense of smell. Worked into the ceilings, walls, floors and installations, the larch wood creates a special atmosphere.

On the upper floor as well as in the hotel room tract of the lower floor, the corridor floors are made from this untreated wood; gently curved corridors that echo the bending of the façade and, due to their spacious layout, resemble living rooms rather than hotel corridors. Wood prevails also in the rooms as well as in the vigilius mountain spa, conveying warmth and naturalness.

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortThe ground floor is tiled with high-quality Silver Quartz natural stone slabs. The clay walls have been treated with warm, earthy, auburn tones. Into the depth of the lower corridor trails away a line of white pedestals upon which stand a series of sublimely erotic female torso sculptures by the Japanese artist Hideki Iinuma. A lounge diverges with niches and alcoves. Here the wood tones are mixed with the red and brown hues of the leather sofas and suites, as well as the warm and earthy colours of the cushions. This is the “piazza”, the core of the vigilius mountain resort. It is more than a mere lounge – it represents a typical Italian piazza and thus conveys a special way of living. Long, low steps of Silver Quartz lead the way down. Guests also like to lounge on these steps and huge leather cushions are laid out for this purpose. If it is cool outside, the open fireplace in the centre of the piazza warms the entire room.

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortA wall of glass faces westward, as high and wide as the room itself and the terrace beyond, oriented directly towards the sunset, with a view of the larch forest of the “Ulten valley” below. If you mentally turn back into the piazza and ascend the few steps again, you will enter the elegant house library in which can be found beside interesting readings music-CDs as well as classic films.

Leaving the piazza to the left through the minimalist corridor or to the right continuing across the piazza northwards to the rooms, one realizes that here, as well as throughout the resort, everything is designed to calm the senses: reduction of materials, indirect lighting, an unobstructed interchange with the natural surroundings.

Be it through the line of skylights above the corridor on the upper floor or through the room-wide windows in the rooms, which – thanks to the full width balconies and the filtered light through the larch wood lattice blinds hanging in front of them – create an atmosphere like being in the middle of a light-filled forest. The view of the mountains and the woods is preserved. Upon opening the glass doors to the balcony you hear nothing but the murmur of the wind. No television intrudes; the device is provided only upon request.

The 35 rooms and six suites are oriented eastward or westward, but in any case towards the outdoors. Whether from bed or bathtub: the view is out towards nature. Unadorned designer furniture, good lighting, lots of wood and the free-standing wall of stamped clay define the space. Only the suites with their additional living room allow a slight admission of South Tyrolean tradition in the form of carved wooden wardrobes, chests and rustic corner seats.

The sun-flooded corridor on the lower floor clad in larch wood leads the guest southward straight to the spa area. The vigilius mountain spa is also dedicated to the extraordinary.

The aesthetic architecture, the warm colours and natural materials, the crackling fire in the fire place beside the whirlpool as well as the spring water define the rhythm of the mountain spa. Expansive panorama windows bring nature into the room. In the water, the boundary between perception and illusion disappears. Quietly it reflects the beauty of the surroundings.

From the Paradise Garden, guests continue back northward along the corridor to the upper floor and to the “roots of the fallen tree” – passing the library and entering straight into the “gabled roof” of the Restaurant 1,500, where the rural simplicity features an elegant flair. For this was 300 year old wood used. Elegant tables and chairs were then installed. All this makes the “1,500” an exceptionally stylish restaurant named after the 1,500 metre altitude at which the vigilius mountain resort is located.

 
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MATERIALS
 
wood, stone, glass, cement

Larch, stone, glass

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ECO-SUSTAINABILITY'
 
Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortThe vigilius mountain resortModernism fashioned in timber – has from its very beginnings been committed to ecology. It is inspired by a deep respect for its surroundings, the environment and nature, which finds its expression in every aspect of its design and the sparing use of local resources.
“Eco not ego“, committed to Nature, is also the motto of the architect, Matteo Thun. At vigilius mountain resort the boundary between Nature and architecture is hardly perceptible. The landscape is not merely a backdrop or frame, it is at the very centre of the architect’s attention. Within and without, natural materials from renewable resources give the building a character of its own. The Vigiljoch mountain is kept free from cars, a living expression of the owners’ respect for untouched Nature as our most precious good.

The unique setting of the vigilius mountain resort was not to be destroyed by an architecture that ignored the natural features of the landscape. This was both the architect’s and the owners’ major concern. Clear lines and an unobtrusive language of forms characterise the design. From the cable car it is almost impossible to distinguish the building from its natural surroundings. The hotel’s wood and glass façade gently merges with the woods and mountains around it. The entire visible part of the hotel complex is made of larch wood. Clay-stucco interior and exterior wall finishes as well as compacted clay walls add an artistic touch to the architecture, creating a unique atmosphere dominated by natural materials. Inside the building the architect’s design concept materialises in clear lines and forms.

The main idea of Matteo Thun’s interior design was to create a monolithic feeling and avoid overwhelming guests with excessively luxuriant forms.

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortThe ecological concept

Like an “island that never was“, as you return back home, the existence of the vigilius mountain resort may seem as unlikely to you as if it had all been a dream. Architect Matteo Thun may have a point here: There are no roads leading up to it, no traffic noise or exhaust gases – nothing but pristine Nature and tranquillity.

The building is embedded in the flank of the mountain ridge like a massive tree trunk. This impression is accentuated by the pronounced horizontality of the wooden lattice structure guarding the façade. While the lower level is a traditional massive construction, the upper two storeys are constructed in wood. Throughout the building the glass parts of the façade feature insulated triple glazing. The flat roof is also extremely well insulated with high-quality thermal material and bears a humus layer as the substrate for roof planting.

The high-quality thermal insulation of the building shell ensures very low heat requirements despite the exposed site, generous glazing and the higher temperatures required in the pool and spa areas. In summer, excessive heat build-up is prevented by the lattice-work protecting the façade from the sun, thermal masses and a ventilation system while the air- tight design of the building shell avoids drafts.

The predominant materials are glass, silver quartz, clay and larch wood: Untreated on the exterior of the building and weathered to a silvery grey, left natural in the interior, or white- washed, oiled or stained. So much wood could easily give an impression of artificial rusticity, which is, however, counteracted by the clear and unobtrusive design. The vigilius mountain resort is not only based on an elaborate concept paying attention to the smallest detail, it is also designed to be sustainable and to spare natural resources.

Sustainability – the “passive energy concept“

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortIt was clear right from the start: biomass rather than oil and gas was to used for heating. Wood chips are provided by mountain farmers from the immediate vicinity, which ensures a source of income for them while at the same time contributing to forest management. Pollution is kept at a minimum by a special combustion and monitoring system combined with effective flue-gas filtration.

Depending on chip quality, between 1200 and 1400 m3 (bulk density) of chips are burned every year. This corresponds to 120.000 to 140.000 litres of fuel oil and saves approximately 65.000 Euro a year.

To keep guests comfortable a radiant heating system has been chosen. The bedrooms are heated by means of a free-standing wall of compacted clay, while the bathrooms feature underfloor heating. Good air quality is provided by controlled room ventilation.

The central building control system allows regulation of all functions and operational modes by a bus system. With this system alarm signals, operating disturbances or compliance with limit values can be monitored graphically and controlled from a centrally operated computer at all times.

The low-energy design concept, which is especially attuned to the location, design characteristics and materials used, is unrivalled in hotel construction and pioneers building trends of the 21st century, where low energy consumption is of steadily increasing importance in the planning of buildings.

Awards

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain ResortThe vigilius mountain resort has been awarded prizes for its pioneering role in sustainable tourism meeting high ecological standards:

In 2005, the Italian WWF Association “Panda d’Oro” conferred the special prize “Amici del clima” on the 5 star design hotel. In the same year, thanks to its high standard of energy saving with an extremely low electricity consumption of less than 30 kwh/a/m2 (annual kilowatt hours per square meter) and its innovative, sophisticated systems engineering, it was classified as the first and at the time only hotel in Italy as CasaClima A (“Climate House, category A”).

In 2006 vigilius received from “Legambiente”, the Italian environmental association, the renowned “Premio all’Innovazione dell’Ambiente”.

In 2009, the resort was one of seven hotels around the world to be awarded 5 Green Stars by “Eco Hotels of the World”.

A particular milestone in the history of the hotel was the completion, in the summer of 2010, of the environmental certification according to ISO 14001, additional evidence of the environmental spirit that prevails at vigilius mountain resort.

In addition to systematic management as an essential factor contributing to the success of an enterprise, the introduction and consistent application of such environmental management principles is a guarantee for constant improvement. The objective of environmental management according to ISO 14001 is the promotion of environmental protection and prevention of pollution in harmony with socio-economic requirements. Once again, the vigilius mountain resort proves its deep commitment and farsightedness in matters of sustainability and environmental protection.

Also in the summer of 2010 vigilius mountain resort was awarded the “ClimateHotel“ certificate, a quality seal established in 2009, which is awarded to hotels espousing the cause of sustainability. It not only focuses on certain quality criteria such as energy consumption but extends to all hotel activities. An important element of the sustainability strategy is that it offers environmentally-friendly mobility and leisure pursuits. It does, however, not bank on austerity and restraint but aims at making holidays a sensuous experience.

The quality seal concentrates on “re-regionalisation“. For the hotel trade, this means promoting the enjoyment of local products, integrating local organic markets and emphasising the special traditions and culture of the region. Holidaying at a ”climate hotel“ thus becomes an opportunity to go for, and learn to love, what is essential in life.

How to obtain the “Climate Hotel“ award:
A detailed list of criteria lays down sustainability targets, which rest on three pillars: Nature (ecological requirements), life (social and cultural aspects) and transparency (the economic dimension). The Climate Hotel quality seal is awarded on the basis of a favourable audit. Recertification after two years ensures that the quality requirements of the quality seal have been maintained.
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LOCATION
 
Continent
Europe
Nation
Italy [Italia]
Region
Trentino-South Tyrol [Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol]
Province
Bolzano/Bozen
Town
Lana
Hamlet
Masi di Sopra
Address
Monte San Vigilio
 
 
Telephone
+39.0473.556600
Website
E-mail
info@vigilius.it
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MAP
 
 
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TYPOLOGY
 
Main
ARCHITECTURE
Buildings for health and well-being
Spa buildings
Buildings for travel and tourism
Hotels
Additional
ARCHITECTURE
Buildings for cultural activities
Libraries and media libraries
Conference halls
Commercial buildings
Restaurants
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CHRONOLOGY
 
Project
2001    
Realisation
2001 - 2003
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AWARDS
 
2006
Premio all’innovazione amica dell’ambiente
Legambiente - Regione Lombardia
2005
Panda d'Oro
Amici del Clima
WWF Italy
2004
Wallpaper Design Award
2004
Gala SPA Award
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BIBILIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES
 
 
Matteo Thun, "Holz in Architektur, Interior- und Produkt- design - Hommage an einen Baustoff/Il legno nell'architettura, allestimenti d'interni e design industriale. Omaggio a un materiale", Detail 10/2010 [Costruire con il legno/Bauen mit Holz], pp. 984-985 (982-988)
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ADDITIONS AND DIGRESSIONS
 
 
Vigilius Mountain Resort
Matteo Thun
Vigilius Mountain Resort Matteo ThunOn your return, as if from never-never land, you might be assailed by doubts that you dreamt it all up. And in fact, there’s no road to it. Its link with the rest of the world is a cableways.

The building itself seems the stuff of dreams – a gigantic tree trunk lying on the ground, surrounded by nothing. Just forests and flowers and the rarefied air and absolute silence you get at 1,500 meters above sea level. A secret lair camouflaged by the landscape, a bit like a children’s tree-house. A wood and glass construction straggling a crest of the mountain-side in South Tyrol, above the city of Merano, the Hotel Vigilius is an adult, indeed a super-sophisticated, version of an infant hideaway. In this case though, the retreat from reality consists of 41 spacious, wood panelled rooms with heated stone walls and panoramic windows, a restaurant built using centuries-old wood painstakingly recovered from an ancient farm building, and a swimming pool with an enormous window looking out across the valley far below. Fire and water are everywhere: fireplaces indoors and out, a mountain stream channelled along the rooftop, fountains and hydrotherapy baths. This surreal tree trunk lies on a north-south axis, so all the rooms have the colours of either dawn or sunset to transform them into theatres of light. During the day, guests can enjoy regenerative spa and therapeutic water treatment at San Vigilio or choose from various sports activities.

Everything here revolves around nature and everything is landscape. From the outside, you hardly notice the hotel, and when you’re inside, you see so much you could be outside. Put in another way, it’s not like looking at a postcard, it’s as if you were in the postcard. San Vigilio is the sort of place you have to deserve, a place on which to meditate. And from which you come home regenerated, as if after a long and very sweet dream.
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CLIENT
 
 
Ulrich Ladurner
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DIMENSIONAL
DATA
 
Number
35 rooms (sq.m. 36 each)
6 suites (sq.m. 72 each)
Surface
total sq.m. 14,000
Hotel sq.m. 11,500
underground sq.m. 3,500

timber construction (ground floor, first floor) sq.m. 4,200
concrete construction (basement and storage area) sq.m. 4,400

spa sq.m. 1,200
Lenght
m. 138
Widht
m. 20
Volume
m³ 17,300
Dimensions
spa pool m. 14 x 4

"paradise garden" m. 20 x 12

sun terrace m. 12 x 20
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m. 1,500 mean sea level
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STAFF
 
Interior design
Matteo Thun
Art intervention
Hideki Iinuma (wooden sculptures)
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CREDITS
 
 
Text and images courtesy by Vigilius Mountain Resort | Communication Plus
Drawings courtesy by Matteo Thun & Partners

Matteo Thun Vigilius Mountain Resort



If you haven't already clicked on the photo strip at the top of the page, for the gallery of photos [58 images] and drawings [3 images], enter here
 
 
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