International architects Hesselbrand has revealed designs for the Acquarossa Spa & Hotel, a new 120 room hotel and thermal spa in the village of Acquarossa in Ticino, Switzerland. It is designed as a contemporary type of hotel that breaks the mould of the traditional star rating, and instead brings people together based on their mutual interest in wellbeing and experience-based tourism. By using a combination of traditional building materials and the latest construction technology, the aim is to create a hotel that is both socially and environmentally sustainable.
Acquarossa Spa & Hotel aims to provide an authentic experience of alpine life in one of the most remote parts of Switzerland. Echoing the language of the traditional rustic houses found in the local area, the design of the hotel is characterised by three expressive timber structures carefully placed on a stone plinth. The combination of natural and man-made materials gives the hotel a classical yet contemporary image, bridging modern architecture with the traditional buildings of the Swiss Alps.
The layout of the hotel and spa is designed with the specific micro climate of the site in mind. Its orientation makes the most out of the wind and sun conditions, and all parts of the building have been considered as potentials for contributing to the sustainability of the development. This includes the large rectangular roofs which are covered with plants and solar panels. To reduce the environmental impact of shipping and storing, all stone used in the design comes from local quarries. Tall and robust timber columns stretch all the way from the ground to the top floors, with a forest-like density on the short sides of the building. The cross laminated timber construction is a significantly more sustainable option compared to more traditional construction methods. The latest innovation and technology is used to create a cutting edge structural design, using local materials that are central to traditional Swiss buildings.
The design of the accommodation is made very flexible to allow for a wide range of standards in the different rooms and social spaces. Some guest rooms are simple and affordable, whereas others are spacious and luxurious, but they all share the same design language. This makes the hotel a great place for people with different backgrounds and requirements, but with shared values and interests. The main goal is to achieve a very social and relaxed atmosphere, which is reflected in all the details of the design, from the overall plan down to the furnishing, lighting and material choices.
Through active participation the hotel seeks to become a genuine member of the community and contribute to the future of Acquarossa’s social and economic development. As an example, the shared spaces between the buildings are designed both for the hotel guests and for the local population of the nearby villages. In the centre of the site is a plaza that has similarities to a town square, and a number of small surrounding gardens are coupled with restaurants and bars. These spaces frame spectacular views of the mountains while providing a platform for social activities. The result is a building where both public and private spaces contribute to a sense of place that is unique for Acquarossa.
Acquarossa Spa & Hotel follows Hesselbrand’s recently completed design of the Tuscan art retreat and hotel Villa Lena, which has been praised for its local sensitivity, attention to detail, and playful reimagining of what the next generation of hotels should offer its visitors and local communities.