Located just outside the historical center of Bressanone, Italy and adjacent to the Bishop’s Palace, the eye-catching concrete building is designed by MoDusArchitects. TreeHugger takes on the qualities of airiness and levity in alignment with the site’s aim of welcoming visitors to the city, housing the tourist information office in its slender columns, deep loggias, and delicate overhangs.
© Oskar Da Riz
The project raises its body and frees up the ground level to give it over to the city as a public space. New visual connections are made, not only with the main building of the Bishop’s Palace but also with the ancillary Chinese and Japanese pavilions that mark the corners of the palace gardens. The exotic, sinuous curves of the corner pavilions are re-interpreted and the building becomes a new gateway to Bressanone.
The site is characterized by an existing monumental tree. The building twists and turns around the central Platanus to form an inseparable connection between nature and edifice. The visual and tactile qualities of the roughhewn walls of the bush-hammered concrete and the scaly bark of the plane-tree mimic one another in their juxtaposition.
With the tree trunk as the fulcrum, five arched spans release the building from the ground, accompanying the tree upwards to draw an open frame around the tree’s crown. In order to achieve the seamless, vertical surface of the outer concrete shell, the walls were cast from a single flow with successive sections to form a continuous 9-meter-high ring. The curvature of the walls together with the floor slabs form a collaborative composition in which form, structure, and façades become one.
The building is almost entirely glazed on the ground floor to allow for maximum transparency and permeability. The entrance is clearly marked by the inset windows and the large overhang that cantilevers out towards the new square. The upper floor, housing the administrative offices, is closed and enigmatic in the sequence of its convex surfaces.
© Oskar Da Riz
With its welcoming curves balanced by the decisive concrete tectonic, TreeHugger strikes up a conversation with its historical context while organically attracting passersby and visitors; it is like a magnet devoted to the sharing of local culture.
DATE: 2016-2019 / LOCATION: Bressanone (Bolzano, Italy) / AREA: 430 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: tourist office / STATUS: built / DESIGN: MoDusArchitects (Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol) / PROJECT TEAM: Irene Braito, Filippo Pesavento / CONSTRUCTION: Unionbau / CONSULTANTS: Luca Bragagna (Site works), Goller Bögl (Structural engineer), Elektro Josef Graber (Electrical installations), Pezzei (Thermo-hydraulic installations), Bernardi & Figli (Stone and ceramic flooring), SAXL Bodenbeläge (Carpet flooring), Huber Hannes (Glass facade and windows), Winkler-Verputz (Subflooring and plasterwork), Cimadom Décor (Drywall and painting), Aster Holzbau (Doors – interiors), Kronlift (Lift), Jungmann, Trias (Furniture), Barth (Millwork, custom finishings and furniture), Tischlerei Goller – Anders Gmbh (Interior partitions and furniture), Stampfl Bauspenglerei (Sheet metal), Ellecosta Metallbau (Custom metal), ACS (Multimedia) / CLIENT: Bressanone Tourist Association / PHOTOS: © Oskar Da Riz