photographer: courtesy©VIGILIUS RESIDENCE
San Vigilio, near Merano, stand along the Valle dell’Adige 1500 metres above sea level. One of the world’s first cable cars was built in 1913 to get to San Vigilio. Nowadays Vigilius Mountain Resort, an extension to the old Vigiljoch Hotel, can still only be reached by cable car or on foot, just one special feature of the special way it interacts with surrounding nature. This long construction, which runs from north to south with two floors above ground and a basement, gently follows the contours of the mountainside. All around, a network of pathways strengthens the bonds between the building and local topography.
Reinterpreting traditional local wooden constructions, it is made of stone, wood, clay and glass. Only the basement areas are made of reinforced concrete. From the entrance foyer, leading off to the lounge, library and two restaurants (one making use of the wood taken from an old mountain chalet), it extends over two levels in a sequence of rooms (41 in total, including 6 suites) alternating dynamically with the public spaces. Right through to the south end, where there is a spa set over three levels and a pool, but first passing through an internal garden planted with larch trees forming an authentic fragment of woodlands incorporated in the architecture.
In each room, all facing east or west, clay walls separate the sleeping quarters from the bathroom. But that is not all: they absorb and then give off heat in winter and coolness in summer. The accessible landscaped roof helps prevent overheating while the large glass windows exploit solar energy, adjustable shutters on the façade control the amount of shade. Everything is hermetically detailed, controlled ventilation with heat recovery and the use of radiant panels on the inside. Plus: biomass heating to help nearby farming and safeguard the woodlands, using lowquality wood as an energy source in the form of pellets. All this is Vigilius Mountain Resort: a soft and elegant machine covering 1400 square metres, a luxurious object in symbiosis with the landscape, a record-breaking mix of healthiness for people and sustainability for the environment. Class A architecture, which won the WWF’s Golden Panda Award in 2006 and the Legaambiente/Lombardy Region Award in 2006.
Design team: Architectural project manager: Bruno Franchi
Interior design project manager : Michael Catoir
Architects: Christine Arnhard, Gioia Gaio, Renato Precoma, Christina Von Berg
Interior designer: Ulrich Pfannschmidt
Client: Private Owner
Project partners: Light designer: Simone Fumagalli
Stylist: Gunhild Breloh
Graphic designer: Dorothee Maier