Treehugger by MoDus Architects in Brixen | THE PLAN
  1. Home
  2. Architecture
  3. Treehugger


Tourist information office

MoDus Architects

Treehugger by MoDus Architects in Brixen | THE PLAN
By MoDusArchitects - Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol -
Barth Innenausbau has participated in the project

Located just outside the historical center of the South Tyrolean city, adjacent to the Bishop’s Palace of Brixen, the eye-catching concrete building is the last episode in a series of “architectural homicides” dating from the 1800s up until the 1970s. TreeHugger takes on the qualities of airiness and levity in alignment with the site’s antecedent structures, which were dedicated to the welcoming of visitors, with their respective features of slender columns, deep loggias, and delicate overhangs.

The project raises its body on tiptoe and frees up the ground level to give it over to the city as a public space. New visual connections are made, not only to the main building of the Bishop’s Palace, but also to the ancillary Chinese and Japanese pavilions that mark the corners of the Palace gardens. The exotic, sinuous curves of the corner pavilions are re-interpreted in the building designed by MoDusArchitects, which transforms into a new gateway for the city of Brixen.

The site is characterized by an existing monumental tree that governs the design. TreeHugger twists and turns around the central platanus to form an inseparable connection between nature and edifice. The visual and tactile qualities of the roughhewn walls of the bush-hammered concrete and the scaly bark of the plane-tree mimic one another in their juxtaposition.

With the tree trunk as the fulcrum, five arched spans release the building from the ground, accompanying the tree upwards to draw an open frame around the tree’s crown. In order to achieve the seamless, vertical surface of the outer concrete shell, the full height of the walls was cast from one flow and in successive sections to form a continuous 9-metre-high ring, within which the concrete plates were then poured. The curvature of the walls, together with the floor slabs form a collaborative composition in which the form, the structure and the building facades become one.

The building is almost entirely glazed on the ground floor, which houses the public spaces and info booths, to allow maximum transparency and permeability. The entrance is clearly marked by the inset windows and the large overhang that cantilevers out towards the new square. The upper floor, housing the administrative offices, is closed and enigmatic in the sequence of its convex surfaces.

With its welcoming curves balanced by the decisive concrete tectonic, TreeHugger strikes up a conversation with its historical context while organically attracting passersby and visitors as a magnet devoted to the sharing of local culture.


Location: Brixen, Bolzano province
Client: Associazione Turistica di Bressanone
Completion: 2019
Gross Floor Area: 430 m2
Architect: MoDusArchitects
Principal Designers: Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol
Design Team: Irene Braito, Filippo Pesavento
Main Contractor: Unionbau

Luca Bragagna
Electrical: Elektro Josef Graber
Plumbing: Pezzei

Millwork and Bespoke Furniture: Barth

© Oskar Da Riz, courtesy of MoDusArchitects

You might also like:
International Panorama 1
International Panorama 1

Short Characteristics of the Book First volume of a journey into international architecture, in order to interrogate the experimentations, the forms of the project that intertwine innovation, compositional, and building technique n... Read More

Paper Version Paper Version
35.00 €
Keep up with the latest trends in the architecture and design world

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054