Underground Mountainside Hotel is Efficient and Beautiful
Architect Matteo Thun has designed this striking eco-friendly hotel to be located on a mountainside in the National Park of Stelvio in the Italian Alps. Composed of a series of underground buildings linked by undulating green roofs, the complex takes advantage of passive design principles and ground-source heat pumps to conserve energy. In addition, the construction of the units, the way the units are situated on the site, and the materials used have all been carefully considered to minimize the complex’ impact upon the environment.
The hotel is comprised of eleven individual units, each appearing as no more than a slight rise in the ground with a large, south-facing window protruding from the hillside. The units are set into the earth and covered with vegetated roofing which serves to moderate the temperatures inside the units throughout the year. A deep overhang above each window shades it from excessive summer sun, and the earth sheltering helps keep noise levels low. Triple-pane windows help with energy efficiency while contributing to the sound control, and heat pumps taking advantage of the constant water temperature of a local natural spring to provide efficient heating and cooling.
The hotel is meant to offer an entire range of green benefits. The architect’s website describes the KlimaHotel standard as having “three pillars of sustainability … the concepts “nature” (Ecology), “Life” (socio-cultural aspects) and “Transparency” (Economy).”