In 2004, Roberta Di Filippo and Roberto Salvischiani founded studio raro, an architecture and visual communications practice. The firm won the design commission to modernize and extend the Hotel Garden at Pieve di Ledro, a tourist resort near Lake Ledro, in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region.
Conceived to improve tourist flows to mountainous areas, cater to emerging hospitality sector needs and foster a relationship with nature, the commission regarded a building in the old town dating back to the 18th Century. The main building was originally characterized by a stone structure and thatched pitched roof. Over the centuries, a number of extensions modified the original layout.
The studio raro design raised the building to restore a unified and orderly interpretation from all sides, adding one floor to the main wing and two floors to the secondary wing. Pre-existing exterior surfaces were renovated with limestone-colored plaster; the new annexes are wooden structures clad with “straw” panels made out of marsh reeds, referencing the original roof. The building’s elevations are dotted with ample windows and wooden niches, lightening the volume and creating an interplay of lights and shadows. The flat roof is topped with green terraces, veritable gardens complete with planted trees.
Taking their cue from the mountainous slope behind the building, the architects designed and built 10 tree houses, accessed via a pathway that “mimics” the chorography of the existing contours. These small volumes reprise shapes and materials from the main project, including burnt or dark varnished wood paneling, and decorated or perforated full planks that allow light to filter in. Large windows emphasize contact with the surrounding forest. Structures are supported by a central dark painted metal pylon, anchored to the ground via a reinforced concrete plinth and plates affixed to the rock.
As a whole, the project was conceived to give the Hotel Garden a strong architectural identity without being an invasive presence in the landscape. To achieve this, the façades are plastered in the same hues as the church and the town center, while the green roof and straw cladding all characterize the extension in a discreet and elegant manner. The tree houses follow the same principles: dark wooden external surfaces harmonize with the location, embellishing it with this new, fully-integrated presence.