Inside The Semi-Insulative Zallinger Refuge Cabins

Just when you think you have made the perfect holiday plans for your next trip away does SATORI & SCOUT drop a new idea into your computer or mobile screens. Designed by noa* (network of architecture), the renovation and expansion of the Zallinger Refuge at the Alpe di Siusi offers a new model of hospitality, serving the world a perfect example of responsible tourism in every way. A historical and landscape recovery intervention found in a high mountain context, these beautiful nineteenth-century barns are reborn as mini-chalets and beings back all the charm of a traditional Alpine village. Featuring South Tyrolean tradition combined with comfort, quality of design and sustainability, such a ClimaHotel has been built with maximum environmental protection in every aspect of the construction.

Offering 24 rooms in mini-chalets and 13 rooms in a central guesthouse, the architect's intention of this project was to re-introduce all the traditional structures and architecture of the South Tyrolean mountain local area, and re-invent it in a new modern way. What most caught SATORI & SCOUT's eyes is the chalet's cladding, blocks of wood that are seemingly more like a semi-complete Tetris game than a solid, insulative method to keep you warm against the harsh climate backdrop. That said, such a design quirk of the cladding being a continual array of block - empty slot - block - empty slot gives a unique motif across the entire resort, inspired by the former structure of the local area's ancient barns, and also provides the added benefit of daylight into buildings without the requirement of oversized windows that may otherwise give an overabundance of glare. A definitive play-on-light structure, the beauty in light versus shadow gives the guests a particular and peculiar environment in which to relax.

With all rooms and buildings equally respective of balancing sunlight, insulation and sustainability, you really can admire the starry night in adventurous ways, indoors and out. As Stefan Rier of noa* explains, "...we want to propose new models of life and hospitality that on the one hand recover traditional forms and materials, on the other hand express quality of design, high levels of comfort and sustainability." Maybe there is room to be more adventurous with your own home renovation and be inspired by such a non-insulative, insulative design.

Continuing in explanation, "...sustainability, respect for the mountains and direct contact with nature are the principles that have guided all design choices. For example, in the design of the new rooms, careful use of the space was made to provide high levels of comfort in relatively small sizes; the roofs wood shingles, typical of the South Tyrolean tradition, were used; all the materials have been certified and the complex of buildings, heated by pallets, has obtained the Klima Hotel certification. It was even decided not to illuminate the paths connecting the chalets and the shelter, to avoid light pollution and allow guests, equipped with lanterns, to admire the charm of the starry sky." A fantastic project all-round by SATORI & SCOUT standards, all the luxuries available in a well-considered manner. Discover more about the architects and project online at:

Photography credit : Alex Filz

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