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With a deliberate turning away from mainstream architecture, South Tyrolean architect Martin Gruber prefers to be an individual, wrapping his projects in fragile and poetic aspects, resulting in incredibly powerful structures that speak to both nature and human endeavour.
Based in Brixen, South Tyrol, Martin Gruber has been studying and practising architecture since the 1990s, where he learnt his craft at the University of Vienna in landscape planning, architectural technology and also at the University of Innsbruck before branching out to utilise his newly formed skills.
As a side note, during the 90s, Martin Gruber was as successful natural track tobogganist, winning two silver medals at the 1995 European Championships for Italy, and in total he was decorated with five victories and 19 podium places.
Come the noughties, Gruber was back ‘on track’ with his first love: architecture, and he was well on his way to developing his unique and interpersonal way of approaching his craft. Creativity and communication are important roles within his work. The starting point of a project for Gruber is all about interaction – in human form based on the client’s wishes, desires, dreams and imagination fused with the use of modern technology to help realise those dreams including creative planning though words and text to functions such as CAD drawings, 3D glasses and CNC milling machines. As Martin says, “we want to ensure that sensual, characterful, humane values have the right place in a project from the start.”
For example, let us look at his recent wonder, the pioneering hotel in the dolomites Anders Mountain Suites – where experience is firmly rooted in the individual – hence the conversion of a 50-room hotel to just seven. A brave choice, the hotel is a stunning mix of smooth spruce, topped by a structural concrete lid.
We also believe that any great architect should walk the talk – and here Gruber excels. Look at his home turf in Verdings, South Tyrol, at the farm which was passed down to him by his father where he has created his own architectural masterpiece. Born from a sketch that Martin drew one day after a thunderstorm, the building grew into real life – he says he wanted there to be “a sense of lightness in a rural place, characterized by physical work, and there should also be a place for our zeitgeist.” Named ‘Freefrom’ the guesthouse is a curved and sculptural glass observatory, utterly private yet completely open to the rolling landscapes and its wildlife. A place to sit and ponder, the house surprisingly homely yet thrillingly modern.
The creation of Anders Mountain Suites is a triumph in engineering that sits perfectly to the rugged mountain terrain - Martin has a poetic approach to natural beauty - something evident in the Anders Mountain Suites.