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Zallinger Mountain Hut

A High-altitude Compendium

noa* network of architecture

It might well be an idée fixe of mine, but the older I get, the more I ask myself if there still is such a thing as Italian architecture. It is a recurrent question, to which over the last 15 years writing about contemporary architecture as a journalist I have given diverse answers - all coming to the same conclusion. I am sure of it. The Italian architecture project is alive and well, able to develop and thrive thanks to an inventive spirit that combines the use of materials and technology with an ability to reinterpret the history of building and innovate with intelligence, producing sustainable solutions that reveal a near maniac obsession with detail. An example of this is the project we present in this issue. Stefan Rier and Lukas Rungger, natives of Italy’s northeast region of South Tyrol, founded their firm “network of architecture” (noa*) eight years ago after several formative experiences, including a stint together at the Milan practice of a key figure on the Italian contemporary architecture scene, Matteo Thun, from whom - professionally speaking - they have obviously taken the best features, molding them in their own fashion and giving them new impetus. Indeed, I think that is the very essence of a good teacher: teaching, enlightening and leaving pupils free to grow from a basic core that they one day may well even repudiate. Which perhaps also sums up life itself, or at least how life should be in the best of possible worlds. Rier and Rungger have shown in a few short years how well they have learned to move in that “network” of relations they named their practice after. Theirs is a network of connections and possibilities with which they have developed their own intriguing expressive capacity that combines a profound attraction for the new, however tempered by respect for place and its history. The program for the Zallinger mountain hut on the mountain plateau of Alpe di Siusi (Bolzano) marks out a new chapter...

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