The original building is late 19th-century, from an age when the upper classes opted for holidays in places where the climate was favourable, with a lake or seaside landscape, and some historical ties. The Lido Palace in Riva del Garda was just one such grand hotel. The original structure was clearly an elegant, luxurious building, but it also very evidently expresses the dominant trends in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bringing together architectural historicism, art nouveau and a few touches of exoticism.
This once splendid hotel could be seen as a variant on a large urban mansion turned into a hotel. The structure is formal, with a basic C-shape and a large lake-facing front, and the vegetation in the garden is intended to enhance an elite stay. The design proposed by the Alberto Cecchetto & Associati architectural practice sought to reverse the recent decline and return the hotel to its former luxury. This required the modernisation of the technology and installations in the structure. Plus, the edifice was enlarged to incorporate some of the surrounding areas. The roof and eaves were altered by adding a steel and glass structure that contrasted with the original volume and created space for large, luxurious suites. New wellbeing facilities were built and the rooms were given an innovative make over, but the most representative spaces were kept.
The project largely rotates around how the old existing structures and the contemporary new ones interact, especially as the materials and conceptions of space differ notably. The old section has expanded beyond its perimeter. A tapering extension on the lake side is made of Corten steel and full-height glazed walls. This section links with the partial basement level where the wellbeing facilities can be found. The floor above this has the restaurants, which enjoys a stunning view of the lake. Here, the contemporary structure must also be seen in relation to nature since it is a clearly distinct volume that has been inserted into a lake setting. It is an eye-catching element and the "arbiter" between the flora, the water and the original edifice.
On the other side, a new entrance was created in the court that once occupied the front of the building. The addition is a glazed structure, with a light steel framework, that forms a transitional section between the garden and the hotel where one can enjoy the views of nature from a protected spot created using contemporary materials.
Corten steel is used profusely. The angled roof protecting the entrance was built with this weathering steel, creating a structure that leads into a sort of modern "winter garden" enclosed by glazed walls and roof. The internal section of this entrance structure is made with sheets of this steel as well, creating a further contrast with the separate, open volume where guests are welcomed. The floor in the new atrium, the steps and the ramp up to the old building also employ sheets of Corten steel.
The new volumes might be very contemporary in the use of materials and space, but they also free the old building up from having to host certain service areas. This means the old entrance hall no longer has to double as reception and can be a grand column room. The new addition, though, does still mean the main staircase can be viewed from the entrance, thus keeping one of the palazzo's key visual features. As such, both contemporary and historical are combined and distinguished, while consistently conveying the idea of high quality. The same message comes from the use of contemporary furnishings in the communal areas and in how the rooms are fitted out.
Hotel Lido Palace won first prize, for best hotel structure, at the 2012 Ischia International Architecture Prize.
Location: Riva del Garda, Trento
Client: Società Lido Palace
Gross Floor Area: 5.460 m2
Cost of Construction: 17.257.000 Euros
Architects: Cecchetto&Associati - Alberto Cecchetto; Enrico Friselle
Contractor: Rossaro Costruzioni
Doors and Window Frames: Safem
Steel Structures: Premetal
Corian: Du Pont
Lift: Pedrini & C.
Aluminium Profiles: Schüco
Armchairs and Sofas: Arper
Photography: © Orch - Fulvio Orsenigo; Società Hotel Lido Palace
Cecchetto&Associati - Prof. Arch. Alberto Cecchetto Alberto Cecchetto graduated from IUAV University in Venice, where he has now taught urban design since 1975. He has taught and lectured at numerous institutions, including the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design (ILAUD), the University of Miami in Coral Gables, and the University of Ferrara.
In 1976, he embarked upon his professional career in Venice, exploring the complexity of design in a variety of projects of different kinds and sizes, decoding and reconstructing the morphological elements of architecture, places and landscapes. His architecture is marked by complex designs, with sophisticated forms and technologies that establish a unique and compelling relationship with place.
In 1989, he won the Andrea Palladio international architecture award for Mensa Universitaria in Trento. In 2008, he received a special mention in the Premio Piccinato for his design of a literary park in Pieve di Soligo. In 2010, he won the U.S. Award for CNR’s offices and laboratories in the Venetian Arsenal, and, in 2012, the international PIDA award for his design of the Lido Palace – Five Stars Plus hotel.
He has won numerous architectural competitions, including, Nuovo Terminal in Fusina (Venice) with Ove Arup in 1997, a socio-cultural centre in Arco (Trento) in 2005, Auditorium Città di Padova in Padua in 2007, Luxury Wine Resort in Bibbona (Livorno) in 2010, and the conversion of an industrial structure in Bailo (Trento) in 2012.
His designs have been exhibited at the Milan Triennale and the architecture biennials in Venice, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, and the Canary Islands.