Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur Oberholz Mountain Hut in collaboration with architect Pavol Mikolajcak
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Peter Pichler Architecture: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur

Even though it’s not always easy to spot, the architectural designs of Peter Pichler can be considered traditional in many ways. Their sleek, pointed and stark lines may not look it, but they are deeply inspired by nature and by the surrounding vernacular architecture, a signature clearly visible at the Schgaguler Hotel in South Tyrol.

Founded in 2015 by Peter Pichler and his wife Silvana Ordinas, we zoom in on two recent – and award-winning – projects that perfectly capture the Milan-based firm’s architectural vision.

The Oberholz Mountain Hut and Schgaguler Hotel are both meant to shield visitors from the elements, and they do so impressively.

For the Oberholz Mountain Hut, this means that, at more than 2.000 meters of elevation, the Milan-based architecture practice – in collaboration with architect Pavol Mikolajcak – opted to model the cantilevered structure after a fallen tree with three main branches reaching out. Each separate hut faces and frames an important vista of the surrounding mountains, connecting strongly to the landscape.

The sloping roofs reference those typical of Alpine huts, and in the interiors, visible wood structures remind of those same familiar spaces, but in a complex, curvilinear way that rethinks traditional Alpine architecture and bestows it a sculptural air that, in all its local naturalness does not detract from the magnificent views.

Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur Oberholz Mountain Hut in collaboration with architect Pavol Mikolajcak
Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur. Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur.

At the end of 2018, Peter Pichler continued in this direction, completing a full refurbishment of the Schgaguler Hotel, a family-owned hotel in the South Tyrolean Dolomites that’s been an integral part of the UNESCO heritage-protected village of Castelrotto for three generations.

Exterior of the design Hotel Schgaguler by Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur based in Milan
Glass facade of the design Hotel Schgaguler by Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur based in Milan
Unusual structure of the design Hotel Schgaguler by Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur based in Milan
Interiors of the design Hotel Schgaguler by Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur based in Milan
Interiors of the design Hotel Schgaguler by Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur based in Milan
Interiors of the design Hotel Schgaguler by Peter Pichler Architects: a practice evoking mountainous grandeur based in Milan

The firm retained the existing structure that was built in 1986, using it as a blueprint from which to execute the new design: a minimal architecture that reinterprets the alpine style. The typical sloped roofs were preserved but the façade simplified through a white concrete façade – a visual impression that evokes the surrounding mountains. Inside, Peter Pichler reinforces this minimal aesthetic by spare wooden elements that exude a harmonious calm: that same sensation one experiences within the vast, snowy expanses and peaks of the Alps.

Images © Schgaguler Hotel, Oberholz Mountain Hut & Peter Pichler

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