‘slow horse’ by elasticospa, piancavallo, italy
all images courtesy of elasticospa
in the small ski-resort town of piancavallo high in the dolomites of northeast italy – a town that is really only activated upon the first snowfall of the year -
the ‘slow horse’ hotel injects a sobering architectural gem contrasting an array of lavish structures. in a setting where the public comes to play with the snow,
the building itself plays with the accumulation or dispersion of snow, incorporating ice stalactites into the winter aesthetic. designed by italian practice
elasticospa, the completed edifice is the result of a partial reconstruction of an existing building.
the project is conceived as a new annex supported over the original one-storey structure which now houses the entrance and service program for the
37-bedroom – 99 bed – hotel. it also houses the cafeteria and public hall that looks out onto the adjacent recreational fields. the new addition is hoisted
above the air by a series of concrete tree-columns and timber members, leaving a void between the two constructs to create a visual separation from
the existing vernacular. three points of isolated circulation connects the two parts, helping to sustain the rather sizable three-storey edifice in a
complex feat of structural engineering. the top portion of the construction, although irregular in form compared to the local status-quo, is clad in vertical timber planks that allude to the characteristics of the mountain cabin.
the roof component is one of the most notable features of the hospice; carefully designed hips and valleys of various angles and lengths collect snow and ice in very different ways that also relate to the orientation of the rooms inside. when warmer weather approaches and the frozen crystals begin to melt, the canopy also disperses the water safely without allowing it to spill – and as is common, re-freeze – onto public exterior areas. unique steep-pitch triangular bays protrude from the northern elevation of the V-shaped plan, recalling the mountainous landscape and keeping with traditional resort design but with a more unusual application.