Buildings with a soul – Alto Adige architecture
Architecture is a fascinating tool to analyse the society it represents. Florence has its palazzi, Venice has its marvellous houses built on water, Rome is blessed with ancient antiquities mingled with modern buildings, and Alto Adige sees a new surge of talented, intelligent, modern architects.
One such example is Werner Scholl. He is well known for his active interest in keeping traditional values alive, respecting the past – not infringing the law when it comes to building restrictions – and adding a modern twist wherever he goes.
He stems from Val Venosta, but feels equally at home in his valley and in modern cities alike. He maintains that “We have to learn to use the space that’s already been built.”
Building with an eye on the materials used, without altering the face of in situ buildings plays a vital role in modern society.
One case in point is Castel Firmiano in Bozen. More info on the castle here...
Renovating it was not easy, since it was under protection and the site plays an important historic role: it was here that a political riot took place in 1957, the biggest in the region, and so it was vital to obtain good results. The site now hosts the MMM – Messner Mountain Museum. Messner is one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation; therefore he wanted to be associated with a great building. The castle is made of “lego” pieces, i.e. it can be dismantled easily, without interfering too much with the existing frame. This construction method is Tscholl’s trademark, and it is very clever. Other examples are Castel Principe and Monte Maria Abbey.
Why is it so relevant to build in a conscious way? We have to understand that most of the energy used in building and construction is not renewable, so making use of sustainable wood or poor materials is important.
During your stay, you will have noticed how vital a role architecture plays in this region, considered among the most avant-garde in Europe. This derives from a love for the environment and an interest in old traditions.